Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn

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Tread Softly on Their Dreams

By Barbara Bray      May 25, 2010 -- 01:10 PM
Sir Ken Robinson talk explains about doing your passion, doing what you are good at and personalizing learning. It's all the things I've been saying for so long. Not everyone is supposed to go to college. How he puts it is that human talent is diverse. It's the diversity that makes us who we are. School, starting in Kindergarten, is focused on getting everyone into college and follows the manufacturing model. That model is broken. He is so right. We are in a revolution and reforming this model will not make it work. I'm curious what you think of his talk. It's under 17 minutes but I highly recommend ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By Khephra  May 25, 2010 -- 03:25 PM

Defining the Skills Gap - Part One

By Barbara Bray      April 18, 2010 -- 07:36 AM
Employment figures are rising this month. In March the payroll jobs increased by 162,000. The Dow topped 11,000. This is showing that the recovery is actually happening. However, the recovery is going to be slow not only because businesses are just starting to get back on their feet, credit is still tight for businesses, and one big factor many are just starting to realize: employers are saying that the employees they need are not available.

Tapan Munroe wrote:

Manpower Inc.ís 2009 worldwide talent survey involving 39,000 employers in 39 countries concluded that nearly one-third of the employers ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By Amit  May 3, 2010 -- 09:56 PM

Vote and Sign Petition for 21st Century Students

By Barbara Bray      March 7, 2010 -- 10:00 AM
I just set up a petition on Change.org for 21st Century Students. I looked through all the causes and did not see a cause that mentioned this so I decided to start one. I need your help in getting this cause noticed. Go to Vote for 21st Century Citizens.


Let me know if I need to change anything. Please share and encourage others to vote. The timeline is short. Thanks!    more...
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Technology's Impact on Learning

By Barbara Bray      February 14, 2010 -- 10:14 AM
Technology may not make the difference in how a student learns. What makes a difference is the learning environment: how the teacher designs learning, and how they use and integrate technology appropriately. In some cases, maybe no technology is appropriate. In-class discussions may work better. Think-Pair-Share where students are looking into each othersí eyes works well and may increase their self-esteem. Maybe going outside or on field trips. However, there are wonderful opportunities for technology where there is no access to valuable resources.

Add video conferencing for a field trip ...   more...
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Future of Schools 2020

By Barbara Bray      December 28, 2009 -- 08:20 AM
By 2020, I cannot see in my vision our school buildings used in the same manner they are today: 180 days a year open only for students. I read Larry Cubanís post this morning about his end of year prediction of classrooms in the future. Itís almost 2010 and there has to be more than thinking about what we have today and relating it to ten years from now.

Hereís what I hope to see: schools and public libraries as community learning centers available to all learners open 24/7 supplemented with online courses, professional development, coaching, networking, and publishing. There is even a Federal ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By Tommy  January 4, 2010 -- 12:33 PM

Challenge for our Future

By Barbara Bray      March 12, 2009 -- 09:19 AM
Today teaching and learning is changing before our eyes. This is the crucial time to design what learning will look like. I challenge you to come up with ideas for our children and grandchildren.

Take a look at most schools today They usually are placed centrally in a community. They start at 8 and close at 3. Very little happens before or after school now because of funding issues. It is a closed campus so community members are not allowed on campus. Students move from grade level to grade level. Teachers manage the classroom. Principals manage the teachers. Teachers tend to be isolated in their ...   more...
Comments: 6   Last Comment By Carlotta  March 26, 2009 -- 08:30 AM

Making and Strengthening Connections

By Barbara Bray      March 20, 2008 -- 08:17 AM
David Warlick is presenting today in Arkansas with Pat Wolfe about what's happening inside and outside of the brain. [2 Cents Worth] Wish I was there but next best thing is to follow David's blog. This quote he wrote is great:

 "You donít grow brain cells.  What grows are dendrites, and Dittos donít grow dendrites!"

Pat shared MRIs of an MRI reading of brains when ...   more...
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Gamers as Leaders

By Barbara Bray      March 11, 2008 -- 09:06 PM
Looking at the digital native, you see someone who has been part of the gaming world most of their lives. Can games help prepare them for their future? From ďThe Gamer DispositionĒ by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas, I realized that there are multiple characteristics that can also prepare gamers to be leaders in the business and education worlds. The multiplayer online games expect users to be quick, be able to adapt and evolve as games change, and know the rules, tips, and even make the rules as they progress through this new type of social system.

Brown and Thomas share five key attributes ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By small Barbara Bray  May 29, 2008 -- 01:51 PM

Education Candidate? Rethink Issues - Collaborate on Visions

By Barbara Bray      February 28, 2008 -- 10:02 AM
USA Today shared an opinion by Wendy Purlefoy about which one of the candidates is really the education candidate. She lists real issues that need to be considered including:

....candidates should answer these five questions:

  1. Fifteen percent of our nation's schools are overcrowded. As a result, teachers say they spend an inordinate amount of time policing classrooms. Do you have a plan for relieving this overcrowding?
  2. How will you ensure that children attend schools that are places of teaching and learning, not violence and crime?
  3. Teacher recruitment, retention and quality are suffering. ...   more...
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Filling the Gap

By Barbara Bray      February 24, 2008 -- 09:30 AM
Iím a baby boomer. Turning 60 this year. I used to think this was old. Now I feel like itís a new stone to turn over. Problems with getting older is mostly physical. Most of my fellow boomers are ed techies who love this stuff. They blog, comment, connect, and share maybe even more than the next generation.

Like a lot of my friends I started in the 80s buying the first desktop computers. Think I had the first laptop (weighed 20 pounds) and first Apple (cost me $4,200 then). I was so with it. Loved it. Still hooked. With the new social networking tools, Iím just like my kids ...   more...
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What is it all about anyway?

By Barbara Bray      February 9, 2008 -- 01:54 PM
I always knew my heart was focused on children. I believe that every child is gifted and special and wonderful. When they are born, they are so innocent and sweet. My first grandchild was born yesterday and I cannot even tell you the feelings I have. First I was relieved knowing the baby is healthy, then that my daughter was okay, that Cali has all of her fingers and toes and is alert. It didnít matter if the baby was a boy or girl. I was anxious, relieved, impatient to meet her, wanting to help in any way.

Meet Cali Ann (born Feb 8th)

Cali will be loved and spoiled (especially by me). She will ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By Barbara  February 11, 2008 -- 11:13 AM

Empathy: Making Compassionate Choices

By Barbara Bray      January 12, 2008 -- 08:33 AM
Most of us are so busy that we donít have time to think of another person and their concerns. Do you know how to tune in to another person if you donít have the time? With all that is on our plates and, especially now with all of our technology, we tend to focus on ourselves and our issues. Daniel Golemanís talk Why aren't we all Good Samaritans? from Ted.com made me think about how we learn what we do. Maybe it has alot to do with the choices we make.


Educators, as a service industry, are givers and helpers by nature. We want to make a difference. We want our children to succeed. Teachers tend to only learn what they know or what they learned. In the past six years, our focus has been on increasing student achievement scores in reading and math.

Doesnít it go deeper than that for many of the children at-risk? Children living in poverty have so many more issues to think about:
  • will I eat tonight?
  • will mom come home?
  • why did my brother have to die?
  • how can I understand math when I canít understand what the teachers are saying in English?
Society blames teachers for poor scores or the parents. Can it be more than that? We may be going into a recession and many more middle class children will be in trouble.

What will we do then?

Social networking should be about connecting and sharing. Is it about showing how many friends you have? Are these real friends? I notice on some of these sites that it is more about who connects to you, who you know. I joined Facebook when I saw you could add causes. However, very few people give.

How do we bring back compassion and really share, help, give? So some questions:
  • How do we help teachers design curriculum that builds compassionate citizens?
  • How do we encourage teachers to share and open their classroom doors?
  • How do we build community service into all grade levels?
   more...
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The Unlearning Curve

By Barbara Bray      December 8, 2007 -- 09:33 AM
Just read Will Richardsonís blog post "Unlearning Curve" and the 10 things to unlearn. I truncated his list so please go to his blog to read his full list. Some things from his list that you might want to think about: We need to unlearn
  • that we are the sole content experts in the classroom...

  • the premise that we know more than our kids...

  • that every student needs to learn the same content and at the same pace..

  • our fear of putting ourselves and our students ďout thereĒ ...

  • that we continually have to block and filter access to the sites and experiences they need our help to navigate.

  • the ...   more...

Comments: 1   Last Comment By Kathleen Scott Meske  January 3, 2008 -- 11:31 AM

Future of the Global Student

By Barbara Bray      November 11, 2007 -- 08:30 AM
Collaboration  - always learning - rethinking how we learn and connect is important, especially today with instant information, everyone and anyone a journalist, actor, writer. So what does this mean for our students and for their future. Kim Cofino presented at the Teach IT conference in Singapore and shared her presentation on SlideShare. Curious what you think...


   more...
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Framing Change: providing a place and time to wonder

By Barbara Bray      October 29, 2007 -- 09:21 AM
Ben Wilkoff, a 7th/8th grade Language Arts teacher at Cresthill Middle School in Colorado presented Obstacles to Opportunities ďStarting From Scratch: Framing Change for All StakeholdersĒ presented at the K12 Online Conference. Ben designed a school model called The Academy of Discovery.

He shares about framing change for schools, teachers, students, administrators, and parents. If you think of school in its present form, then the thought of any change is monumental and overwhelming. He explains very clearly that you need a new framework of pedagogy and his focus at Cresthill is a singular concept ...   more...
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Importance of Critical Thinking Skills

By Barbara Bray      October 14, 2007 -- 08:37 AM
I just read "Changing the way we think about learning" article in the SF Chronicle by Linda Hammond-Darling.

One of the central lessons of No Child Left Behind is that if school sanctions are tied to test scores, the testing tail can wag the schooling dog. And a key problem for the United States is that most of our tests aren't measuring the kinds of 21st century skills we need students to acquire and that are at the core of curriculum and assessment in high-achieving countries.

While a debate rages about whether our tests should be created at the national or state level, th...   more...

Comments: 1   Last Comment By small Cheryl Vitali  October 17, 2007 -- 07:19 AM

What will learning look like in the future?

By Barbara Bray      October 3, 2007 -- 07:59 AM
I was very lucky to be invited to participate in the first convening of Innovation for the KnowledgeWorks Foundation with a very prestigious group of people from around the country. One of the goals for this convening was to develop a new vision for Professional Learning Communities in the future. The questions that kept popping up was about the future of teaching and learning.

One article we read was Why Teacher Networks (Can) Work by Tricia Niesz from Phi Delta Kappan where she talks about Communities of practice in which learning and teaching are interwoven in social networks, and someday ...   more...
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Do we need teachers?

By Barbara Bray      July 8, 2007 -- 08:38 AM
This question is appearing in the blogosphere and I need to jump in.

Dean Shareski wrote The Honeymoonís Over  where the debate is on about putting technology into every childís hands. He references:
You have to read all the posts and comments (dig deep) to get the points:

Gary comments on the $100 laptop for Nigerian students:

Get schools entirely out of the computer business and give ...   more...
Comments: 4   Last Comment By Erin Elliott  August 7, 2007 -- 04:52 PM

Change? Future? What are we really talking about?

By Barbara Bray      May 27, 2007 -- 08:28 AM
In some classrooms around the country technology changes the way teachers interact with students.

Isnít this still using traditional methods? Okay - there are laptop classrooms with one-to-one initiatives. Students are in groups doing collaborative work. Thatís cool! But are we tapping into the way technology is changing everything else in our world?


How about looking at what students are doing now? Our college, high school, and middle school students are using social networks like MySpace and FaceBook. Iíve talked to my niece who txt msgs and has more social time in FaceBook with ...   more...
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future classrooms?

By Barbara Bray      May 15, 2007 -- 10:59 AM
I was looking for information on active boards and was sent some information about multi-user multi-touch screens. Then found several presentations by Jeff Han on his multi-user technology. Too cool so have  to share:

Comments ››

Future Set in 2015

By Barbara Bray      April 24, 2007 -- 10:11 AM
This was in the Blue Webín newsletter and shared by Linda Benafel on the techstaffdevelop listserv.

Title: Making It Happen

URL: http://epic.makingithappen.co.uk/new-master1.html

Description: Epic 2014 is the original flash online movie made by
Robin Sloan for the Museum of Media History. Set in 2014, it charts the history of the Internet, the evolving mediascape and the way news and newspapers were affected by the growth in online news. It coined the word "Googlezon" from a future merger of Google and Amazon to form the Google grid, and speaks of news wars with the Times becoming a print only ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By small Barbara Bray  May 10, 2007 -- 07:07 AM

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