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Author Topic: Real & Innovative Education  (Read 6482 times)


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Real & Innovative Education
« on: March 28, 2011, 12:23:29 pm »

Learning from the Extremes
[I edited the following extensively. - Luck]
- Radical innovators want:
• Children to become protagonists in learning.
• Learning to be a collaborative activity, the outcome of interaction between teachers and pupils, and among pupils, rather than being a transfer of knowledge.
• Teachers to be supported and even supplanted by other specialists and peer-to-peer learning.
• Learning to be more clearly related to real-world questions and problems and to also be a productive activity, in which children make things and even earn money from their work.
- Integrated approaches to family and community-based learning, however, will require organizational innovation. Teachers and schools will not necessarily be central to this.
> These schemes need to measure their success in terms of happiness, well-being, emotional resilience, confidence, and social capital. Good social and emotional outcomes lead to better learning outcomes. The social innovation that is needed is much more likely to come from outside—from social entrepreneurs—as well as from integrating learning with other public services.
- Part VI: Transform: Alternatives to School Formal
> In the modern economy, jobs will require more collaboration and entrepreneurship, creativity and problem-solving. Workers will need the ability to ask, recognize, and explore interesting questions rather than looking for pat answers. Education tailored to the needs of mass production industry is out of kilter with the times.
> 100 million young people are members of the virtual world Habbo. The potential for learning through mobile phones is only just beginning to emerge. A BBC service to teach English in Bangladesh through mini-lessons on mobile phones attracted 300,000 plus calls in a month.61
> Pull Not Push
[I.e. Libertarian, not Authoritarian]
- Social entrepreneurs are pulling children into learning by making education intrinsically more interesting—for example, by building pedagogy around play and by making it extrinsically more rewarding, by making it pay and solve the problems people face.
- Social entrepreneurs run initiatives in which learning is delivered through another attractive activity, whether it is sport, dance, arts, photography, music, or even circus arts. School usually starts from a curriculum to be learned. Activities such as drama and sport are often seen as interesting add-ons.
- Social entrepreneurs ... devise an activity that will attract and motivate children and then build structured learning into that activity. Consider these examples:
• The most famous example is El Sistema in Venezuela, which has produced a world-class orchestra consisting of children brought up in poor communities.
• Mantalbán Children’s Academic Center education revolves around music and play.
• In Paraguay, Sonidos de la Tierra provides classical music training in slums so that young people have a source of stimulation in their free time, with the goal of making it less likely they will get involved in drugs and gangs. Luis Szarán, its founder, says: “The young person who plays Mozart by day does not break shop windows at night.”
• Children enrolled in the Escola Pernambucana de Circo circus school in Brazil have to attend formal school as a quid pro quo for learning circus skills.
- The Instituto Ayrton Senna in Brazil funds a wide range of programs to promote learning through sport, dance, and art.
• The Tigers Club Project run by Retrak in Uganda is just one of many working with street children that use sport—in this case Soccer.
- Learning as Play
- Play forms a central part of the social entrepreneur’s pedagogy.
>• The most comprehensive learning system based on play has been developed by Taio Rocha at CPCD based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third-largest city. Rocha has devised more than 2000 learning games, of which about 200 are used in the local schools. Rocha’s games cover all aspects of the curriculum. Rigorous assessment shows that his games have a significant impact on the effectiveness of learning. This pedagogy of play is just one aspect of Rocha’s work over more than 25 years. He has also developed new tools for learning to be organized around questions rather than knowledge, as well as an alternative assessment system called “the index of human potential.”
• The Program for Active and Creative Mathematics has developed new games-based ways to promote math teaching in Costa Rica, where children falling behind in math are one of the main reasons for high dropout rates and grade repetitions.
• Fundación Gente Nueva in Argentina runs primary and secondary schools and education and daycare centers, as well as 10 community-managed schools. Its technical schools run _enterprise development programs, and it invests in the businesses that students propose. It is a school that acts as a seed investor in businesses that its graduates create.
>• Drishtee, which runs a network of franchise shops in rural India, provides basic computer and English training. Drishtee franchisees are trained to deliver these programs to very poor communities in which most people earn less than $2 a day.
- Learning from Peers
> Many schemes get round a lack of formally qualified teachers by using current and former students to lead peer-to-peer learning.
> Many of the fastest growing cities in the world have chronically weak tax bases. Mobilizing additional investment, both public and private, is thus critical to expanding education.
> Social entrepreneurs have responded by developing new business models to support education—schools that pay for themselves by being productive enterprises.
- The separation of learning from work defines the modern school. Children are freed from work in order to learn, before entering the labor market later in life. Social entrepreneurs are breaking this line, turning school into a productive, income-earning enterprise that can fund itself. Often this is the only way poor communities can fund education.
>• Karatara is a South African business school that aims to pay for itself by spinning off businesses that will allow students to pay for their education.
• The Revolving Micro Credit Fund in Peru allows the young and their families to borrow to pay tuition fees for their secondary education. It marries micro-credit to learning.
• Bansofe School in Somalia pays the teacher in the form of goats. Each parent contributes a goat to the school. At the last count, the head teacher had a flock of 156.
• The Centre for Mass Education in Science (CMES) in Bangladesh reaches about 20,000 students annually, half of them girls, through a network of 400 schools. Products made in the school’s practical programs help to fund the program.
>• In several countries agricultural schools grow produce to sell in markets in order to pay for teachers’ salaries, the model pioneered by Fundación Paraguaya.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 12:28:23 pm by Luck »


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Re: Real & Innovative Education
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 12:25:30 pm »

Learning from the Extremes
- Old and New Technologies for Learning
>• Post: The Digital Study Hall creates video content of good teachers teaching the national curriculum in India, which it then distributes to rural schools by pos—the so called Postmanet—where teachers are often in short supply. DSH has videos for about 150 lessons and is serving 30 schools in Lucknow, Calcutta, Pune, and Dhaka. It is a small-scale model of what might become possible with the advent of mass broadband and services such as Skype.
>• Radio: In Zambia, the Freeplay Foundation is using radio to promote education, through the Learning at Taonga Market (LATM) program. Lifeline radios are powered by hand or solar energy and so do not need batteries or electricity mains. A noncertified teacher—for example, a literate villager trained to use the radio as a teaching tool—sets up a makeshift classroom with a blackboard to teach literacy and numeracy based on the program. In tests, children who attend LATM classes do as well as those attending formal school and often reach grade 4 in the national curriculum faster than those in formal school.
> Other technologies are new: Social entrepreneurs are leading the way in exploring the transformative potential of the web. One of the most powerful programs is Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall, which is showing how, with the help of a non-teacher mediator, computers can promote self-organized learning, especially in places where teachers are hard to recruit.
- Mitra started by putting a computer in a hole in the wall of his office, which backed onto a slum to see how children would use it. Within four hours, without any help, they were surfing the net. When Mitra took computers to a remote rural area renowned for its singing, the children, who had never seen a computer before, needed just 24 hours to start recording their songs. Mitra’s most ambitious scheme was to show that children in an Indian fishing village could teach themselves the equivalent of GCSE biotechnology, in English and without the help of teachers, just with free computers. After six months, they got scores almost on a par with those of children in India’s best private schools. Mitra is developing a scheme to provide English lessons over Skype with retired teachers in the United Kingdom to read stories to children in India.
- Hole in the Wall computers operate in about 500 locations across India; some are in schools, while others are on the edge of schools or based in communities. They provide an adjunct to school education and an alternative to it. Hole in the Wall’s programs show that children can learn without teachers through self-organized and self-motivated learning using computers designed to make learning fun.
>• Children are compelled to attend school in the developed world. Social entrepreneurs are devising approaches that attract children to school by making it interesting, engaging, and worthwhile. “Pull not push” is the signature of socially entrepreneurial education.
> Another route to scale is through the market: education as a commercial service.
- Ubiquitous technology on the web is creating another route to mass engagement, through the viral spread of videos, games, and tools. Social entrepreneurs who lack resources to scale an organization are devising alternative routes to propagating social innovation. For example:
>• Social entrepreneurs campaign to change attitudes towards education and build demand for it. A prime example is Pratham, which began its own independent audit of the quality of Indian education in part to stimulate national debate.
>• Social entrepreneurs piggyback on existing infrastructure rather than building their own. CDI works in conjunction with schools in several Latin American states. Pratham’s learning support mentors add to the often scant resources in government primary schools. Drishtee provides its IT and English courses through a network of small kiosks. Social entrepreneurs make existing infrastructures more productive.
• Social entrepreneurs adapt to local circumstances. Many of the most successful social enterprises—CDI in Latin America, Hole in the Wall in India —propagate by adapting. They allow their basic approach to adapt to the different circumstances it will need to work in.
> These networked and adaptive approaches are based on organizational models that are:
• Simple, very easy to explain and pick up, even if they involve new technologies.
• Modular: the models click together like Lego bricks with simple rather than complex designs, allowing ingredients to be added as they grow.
• Adaptable to circumstances so they can be made useful in situ.
• Immediately useful, which drives adoption and builds momentum.
• Open to others to make contributions, thus maintaining innovation.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 01:17:23 pm by Luck »
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