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Leadership and Activism, Philosophical Meanderings


Jim and I got to hear Anya Kamenetz share her expertise with a group of parents at Colorado Academy. (full rough notes here)
Three things she said that I’d like to pass on.

1) Anya started her talk with these stats:
45% – no significant gains 1st 2 years of college
36% – no significant gains over 4 years of college
During the q&a at the end, one person asked, how do you assess the merit of the content? (when a student is left to own their learning)
Anya suggested we remember the black box, where we are now, how “successful” we are now, when we’re trying to decide if change is worth the risk. Perhaps in bypassing our tendency to play defense, we’ll have plenty of energy to define and pursue our own success.

2) Another question from q&a – as an employer, how do you start to evaluate students?
Anya’s response was that co-evolution has to take place:

  • institutions who’s basis is assessment, per specialization, you pay to get reliable vouching
  • portfolio – where you can see the work
  • reputation – large % of hiring here, has been this way before

Anya had addressed reputation in her talk, where she shared the option of professional networks in lieu of diplomas. She sited Scott Belky’s Behance network, as an example, where companies are recruiting straight off this website. She noted that we rely on reputation based systems more than priests and doctors. She also not that LinkedIn has 90 million members, with a data driven career planning built in.

3) One of the best statements I believe Anya made that I wish everyone could not only hear, but drink it in:

A lot of students make career based decisions based on too little info.

I believe that is what Will Richardson is after in his call for a parent’s back to school night and what Lisa Nielsen is after in this recent project and post.
And it’s what we’re after in working on a doc to share options. (please jump in and help, if you’re so inclined)

Anya’s first book DIY U, was a gold mine for me, especially all the resources she listed in chapter 4. She’s just announced her latest project here. She’s given us higher ed options for learning, and next she’ll grace us with higher ed options for credential.

Along the same lines, Michael Wacker tweeted this video out today:
“Targeted at parents, teachers and anyone concerned with education in America, this documentary takes viewers to the front lines of an education revolution. “Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century” examines how mobile devices and digital media practices can empower young people to direct their own learning. Documenting five success stories both inside and out of the classroom, the program demonstrates how digital media, games, smart phones and the Internet are fundamentally transforming the way young people communicate, collaborate, participate and learn in the 21st century.”


About monika hardy

experimenting with the intersection of city and school.


2 thoughts on “options

  1. Thanks, Monika – it would be interesting to see a reputation-based system determine teacher-student-course combinations in public school. If we could allow ourselves three years or so to innovate and develop new kinds of learning spaces and schedules like yours – and if we could be held harmless – we could offer a portfolio of options within a school and work to provide engaging, authentic work for most, if not all students. I don’t mean to make schools a market-place, per se, but collaboration between types of opportunities has got to be better than kids’ competing for grades and such in the narrowly focused classes they take today.

    All the best,

    Posted by Chad Sansing | March 1, 2011, 9:31 pm
  2. i agree Chad. i’m thinking something like school of one’s sophisticated infrastructure to schedule. something that seems crazy and undoable to us, but tech is just waiting and wanting to do for us.
    and so then – in a city (and virtually too of course) you pick and choose per reputation/portfolio and ongoing advice from your mentors and exposures k-5 or 8.
    imagine the downsizing on classroom management, and motivational talk, etc.

    Posted by monika hardy | March 2, 2011, 8:23 pm

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