July 2nd – John Adams – What a brilliant failure?

With great enthusiasm for the event and an accurate understanding for the significance of the event, John Adams wrote that the July 2, 1776 approval for independence would be celebrated for years to come.  Off by two simple days, many might call this a failure.  However, I tend to view this proclamation to his wife as a clear understanding of the times and a brilliant prediction.  I also think he continued on as a great reminder of what America would become.  I think he was successful.

So then why do we continue in education to look for the discrete facts and tiny moments to evaluate success?  Why are we so involved with demonstrable test taking and fact memorization?  Is that what the future world needs from its workforce?  Is that where innovation begins?  Is this what the world is going to remember?  Do your most successful leaders have 4.0 or higher?

I think we need to find ways to incorporate project based learning into the classroom.  I think we need to lessen the rigorous approach to test taking.  I think we need to design projects that increase skills that are defined by the workforce.  Finding the right answer, reaching a consensus on the right answer,  debating an approach, presenting the circumstances around that answer, and evaluating your success in communicating the answer are much better predictors of success.

So to my ISTE 2015 friends, I am sorry that I went to Philadelphia two weeks prior to the conference, and I was unable to participate in the demonstration of project based learning through technologies. You might call that a failure since I missed it by two weeks. However, as I am listening to the great presentations and feedback you gave on YouTube, I sense that I am a small part of a growing movement.  I predict one day we will have digital learning that analyzes skills rather than content and produces wonderful citizens rather than “know it alls”.  Ouch, Happy Independence Day!



Wow, as I reflect over the past year, I find that I have missed many goals.  One is obviously that I did not update Zoombla over the winter break, and another is that I have somehow left this blog absent of good thought, advice, and personal experiences.  So why or why not should you continue reading . . . .

Because FAIL SPACE is important.  How we educate today is so dependent upon personalized learning environments where students can create, test, fail, and make better.  There is so much brain research that supports that when we struggle and rebuild we are building skills that are life long learning needs that will help is in any endeavor.  Consequently, we need classrooms that support project based learning, flexible design, group collaboration, making, designing, and presenting.  We need to place process over content, and we will find that students thrive, are more engaged, and take the redesign and editing phase as a game level to do better.  Students actually do like to break something and then figure out how to make it better or design, test it, and fix it.

So yes, I have failed you, my readers, in many ways this past year in the sense of content predictability, and while I have been engaged in large projects such as faculty development, the online educational initiative, student orientations, two learning systems management, and course review, I have failed this blog.  (or have I?)  However, you must also know that in my desire to fix, rebuild, create, and maintain this blog that I have simply written this post with gusto, in a quick manner, and with total belief in the success of FAIL SPACEs for the modern learner and, of course, me.

Which STEM skills are you teaching?

The A8N VM CSM, an ASUS microATX motherboard

The A8N VM CSM, an ASUS microATX motherboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was recently reading an article from Elearning (www.2learning.com) where it states that “only 15% of college students (United States) are in Engineering and Science, where many of the high-tech jobs reside. That number compares to 50% in China, 67% in Singapore, and 47% in France.”  I found this alarming as the future economy depends upon technological advancements, inventions, applications, and products.  I also found this relative to a previous article that I wrote about students learning to code software as all of these devices need instructions (software) that tell the device what to do.

In addition, the article stated that “Leland Melvin, head of NASA’s education programs and head of the President’s STEM council, said that there are 1 million jobs that can’t be filled because people lack the requisite skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).” It seems logical then to encourage students to study STEM skills at younger ages and to provide them with unique STEM courses to explore the future.  In fact, there might be a need to develop stronger STEM programs in our public schools.  It might even mean a shift in how school programs are offered.

I have seen many independent private schools build new science buildings in the past decade to tackle this need, and I am noticing that the local public high schools in my town are offering a pre-medical type program, an international baccalaureate, and a technology magnet school program for qualified applicants.  While we are moving in the correct direction, it appears that we have a long way to go.

If you have some time, please share what unique STEM skills are being taught at your school.



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