Saturday, November 7, 2015

most likely to succeed

Several weeks ago, Jill and I went to see a documentary at the Milwaukee Film Fest called Most Likely to Succeed. If you are interested in education then you should see this film. I was able to meet with the producer, Ted Dintersmith, at the DCRL before the film. Chad and Caitlin joined us as well. We had a very interesting conversation with Ted and Kristie. I am currently researching a middle school - high school curriculum that focusses on project based learning as an alternative to AP college prep courses. 

I see it in my college students: who cares what facts you know; if you can't implement, problem solve, make decisions, create, and connect your hands with your head then what can you do beside spout facts? There is a revolution coming in education and the current teaching models and economic structure is going to be changing drastically. The makers and problem solvers are going to play a pivotal role in how our young people are shaped. Think of it as a return to those one room schools, and collaborative work spaces of industrial arts programs from long ago. A place where people build things and they don't wait for someone to hand them "knowledge on a platter". It will hopefully create a generation of self sufficient thinkers and doers. At the least maybe we'll be able to create a society where people take pride in their work. Maybe I'm just dreaming...


dorkpunch said...

Very interesting to hear the other end of it... Working with middle school students I have the same goals- My tech classes are designed around the problem solving process in hopes that the kids will be able to recognize a problem, come up with different alternative ways to solve it, pick the best one, and DO IT. All the more better if they can evaluate what they did and hopefully continue to refine / improve the design.

My favorite assignments to see them work on are the ones that have minimal "rules"- just basic requirements on what needs to happen so they get to figure out the how. The coolest part- every single student comes up with a different idea- but every different idea meets the requirements!

Would love to hear more about your "vertical alignment" of middle school / high school / college... Same topic has been on my mind a bit recently.

Frankie Flood said...

You know your classes are exactly what is needed. I have watched what you do via your blog and it's educating children in the means in which they need to learn to be contributing members of society. I think I got this kind of education by growing up in a small town with a school system that didn't worry too much about standards, but I think things have changed drastically since my formative education years. It's too bad that so many schools got rid of industrial arts/ shop/ etc. or they started teaching it too late during the high school years as an alternative for people who "couldn't hack the academics". There are also too many parents thinking that a vocational education or a creative education is not of worth, which makes the situation even worse.

I would love to have one of "your" middle school kids in a few years in one of my college classes. There would be no limit to what we could accomplish in four years in higher education. Our country is behind because our kids aren't getting a good education until they start working a job outside of college and anymore they're lucky if they can get a job in their chosen profession after college. It actually has me thinking twice about encouraging my kids to rack up the college debt by attending college. I know this sounds drastic, but the thought has crossed my mind.

Shop Teacher Bob said...

I'm very much interested in what you come up with on the curriculum project. I know you're busy with a myriad of projects but I think this could bear great fruit. It's good to see the pendulum swinging back toward a common sense, realistic approach to education. I'd be happy to act as a sounding board if you need someone to bounce some ideas off of.

Frankie Flood said...

That means a lot have you as a sounding board. I may take you up on this I things progress. I think your experience would be invaluable. I'm hoping to have something written up by the end of this month. Hopefully Thanksgiving Break will give me some much needed thinking time.