Interest-based Learning

Learner Interest-Driven Curriculum

Monday, June 23, 2014 Comment animated graphic Learning principle 1 interest powered picture of young boy profile

What most educators would call “subjects” or “disciplines,” Jeff Hopkins, principal of the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry, regards as “silos” when they restrict the scope of learning and nodes of a knowledge network when they serve as points of interconnection. Rather than teaching, evaluating, and assessing students around distinct subjects, PSII educators guide students in projects that matter to them, which require tying together multiple subjects. Hopkins and his teachers are big on the word “consilience,” which biologist E.O. Wilson popularized as a focus on “the unity of knowledge.” Although this approach may seem


Gamechanger: Digital Media plus Student-centered, Immersive, Peer-led Learning

Tuesday, July 05, 2011 Comment Recycle art collage made out of recycled paper

In the middle of one of the hottest and driest summers on record, twenty Austin, TX, area high school students showed up for school everyday for four weeks. While the four-week project took place inside a school, how the students worked, the roles they assumed, and what they produced was a total redesign of school and what it means to be a learner. Their mission: create a casual video game for AMD that highlights the green architecture that earned the company’s Lone Star Campus (based in Austin) a gold certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design


A Teenager Taps Social Media to Help Change his Struggling Community

Monday, June 20, 2011 Comment large pictures of human portraits covering front of buildings in poor community

“Intense shootings happening at this moment in the Complexo do Alemao!” tweeted teenager Rene Silva on Nov. 9, 2010.  Using his personal Twitter account (@Rene_Silva_RJ) and the Twitter account of a newspaper he created, “Voz da Comunidade,” (Community Voice – @vozdacomunidade), Rene was able to broadcast information about a standoff between police and drug traffickers from inside the “Complexo do Alemão,” one of the major groups of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. During the dangerous conflict, Rene and two other kids drew media attention in Brazil because they were able to send out news in real


Redefining School, Success

Monday, June 13, 2011 Comment Be You Points of difference colorful art graphic

We’re a district InnovationLab in Loveland, Colorado, where students have crafted, and just completed year one, of a four-year plan of disruption to redefine school. Based on findings that learning at its best is voluntary, per passion/choice, and self-directed, we are working towards community as school. After our experience this past year, we are thinking: It’s prime time for some much needed detox from traditional assumptions. The Web is offering a new space, new connections, new life, if we so choose. What Tech Wants is to set us free. It wants to let us get back


Share, Grow, Do: The Potential of Digital Age Learning

Saturday, June 04, 2011 Comment female student working on paper work and laptop

The National Writing Project has launched a fantastic new web site, Digital Is, to build a community amongst educators exploring how the digital age is changing how we write, share, collaborate, publish and participate in the digital age. More importantly, what does this mean for the teaching of writing? The site offers resources, news and discussions. It is fairly new, so check it out and consider being part of building this community. Global Kids has already contributed to Digital Is by adding multimedia curriculum for Supporting Youth to Develop a Mental Map of Where They Learn.


Mozilla Drumbeat: Open Web Meets Open Learning

Thursday, January 06, 2011 Comment group of adults sitting in circle in mozilla meet up

What if the same energy, ideals, organizational effectiveness, global army of volunteers and code wizardry that created the Firefox web browser could be applied to learning and education? Don’t forget that the Mozilla Foundation is all about maintaining the openness and generativity of the Web. Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, told me recently “we need to do more than make a browser” for Mozilla to advance its larger goals. I asked him why Mozilla decided to turn its attention and formidable energies to education and learning. “We looked at each other,” Surman said,


“Check-in” Learning and Social Learning Networks

Monday, January 03, 2011 Comment teacher standing at the front of classroom teaching students a lesson

At the core of all of our work at the Digital Youth Network, whether it is understanding the affordances of social learning networks or creating new learner-centered models, is the idea that learners stay engaged by identifying the pathways most interesting and relevant to them. We address this by not only providing a wide array of program options but also designing social learning networks to provide our youth a space outside of structured programming to explore their passions with the support of peers and mentors. Being able to engage our students beyond the limited time and


Disrupting Class: A New Age for Learning

Thursday, December 30, 2010 Comment
students sitting in class having conversations disrupting class

Book review: one in an occasional series on works that aspire to reimagine learning in the information age. Let’s start with the shocking news that Disrupting Class authors Clayton Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson present a hopeful view of the world where K-12 education is utterly transformed. In their view, learner-centered teaching plus information technology will mean the end of the century-old industrialized model of public schooling. From page one, there’s an expression of “high hopes.” They debunk many of the traditional theories about why our schools are failing: funding issues, lack of


Literacies, Semantic Web and Recommended Resources

Monday, November 01, 2010 Comment teacher sitting with student giving student interview in classroom

Editor’s note: Global Kids does a stellar job each month pointing us to excellent resources.  The 2010 Horizon Report: Museum Edition (report) The 2010 Horizon Report: Museum Edition, part of the New Media Consortium‘s Horizon Project, looks at emerging technologies and their potential impact on museums. The report, like all Horizon reports, identifies six key technological trends. For museums, the report features: mobile technology, social media, augmented reality, location-based services, gesture-based computing, and semantic Web. The report delves into each technology in much more detail, provides a list of museums that are exemplary in their use


Learning, Playing, Designing: Video Games in School

Thursday, October 21, 2010 Comment female girls shadows looking into glass aquarium

Most education has been fashioned around the reasonable-sounding objective of equipping students with tools to solve problems. This is one facet of what some educators call the “eat your broccoli” approach to education — “Sit still and learn this; it will come in handy later,” parents and teachers repeat to their children and students. Unfortunately, it turns out that too many students resist sitting still and learning things that have no immediate use to them, but which adults insist are necessary. What would happen if you inverted that strategy? What would happen if you presented students