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Using Groups Effectively: 10 Principles » Edurati Review - 50 views

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    "Conversation is key . Sawyer succinctly explains this principle: "Conversation leads to flow, and flow leads to creativity." When having students work in groups, consider what will spark rich conversation. The original researcher on flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, found that rich conversation precedes and ignites flow more than any other activity.1 Tasks that require (or force) interaction lead to richer collaborative conceptualization. Set a clear but open-ended goal . Groups produce the richest ideas when they have a goal that will focus their interaction but also has fluid enough boundaries to allow for creativity. This is a challenge we often overlook. As teachers, we often have an idea of what a group's final product should look like (or sound like, or…). If we put students into groups to produce a predetermined outcome, we prevent creative thinking from finding an entry point. Try not announcing time limits. As teachers we often use a time limit as a "motivator" that we hope will keep group work focused. In reality, this may be a major detractor from quality group work. Deadlines, according to Sawyer, tend to impede flow and produce lower quality results. Groups produce their best work in low-pressure situations. Without a need to "keep one eye on the clock," the group's focus can be fully given to the task. Do not appoint a group "leader." In research studies, supervisors, or group leaders, tend to subvert flow unless they participate as an equal, listening and allowing the group's thoughts and decisions to guide the interaction. Keep it small. Groups with the minimum number of members that are needed to accomplish a task are more efficient and effective. Consider weaving together individual and group work. For additive tasks-tasks in whicha group is expectedtoproduce a list, adding one idea to another-research suggests that better results develop
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Occupy Your Brain - 111 views

  • One of the most profound changes that occurs when modern schooling is introduced into traditional societies around the world is a radical shift in the locus of power and control over learning from children, families, and communities to ever more centralized systems of authority.
  • Once learning is institutionalized under a central authority, both freedom for the individual and respect for the local are radically curtailed.  The child in a classroom generally finds herself in a situation where she may not move, speak, laugh, sing, eat, drink, read, think her own thoughts, or even  use the toilet without explicit permission from an authority figure.
  • In what should be considered a chilling development, there are murmurings of the idea of creating global standards for education – in other words, the creation of a single centralized authority dictating what every child on the planet must learn.
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  • In “developed” societies, we are so accustomed to centralized control over learning that it has become functionally invisible to us, and most people accept it as natural, inevitable, and consistent with the principles of freedom and democracy.   We assume that this central authority, because it is associated with something that seems like an unequivocal good – “education” – must itself be fundamentally good, a sort of benevolent dictatorship of the intellect. 
  • We endorse strict legal codes which render this process compulsory, and in a truly Orwellian twist, many of us now view it as a fundamental human right to be legally compelled to learn what a higher authority tells us to learn.
  • And yet the idea of centrally-controlled education is as problematic as the idea of centrally-controlled media – and for exactly the same reasons.
  • The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was designed to protect all forms of communication, information-sharing, knowledge, opinion and belief – what the Supreme Court has termed “the sphere of intellect and spirit” – from government control.
  • by the mid-19th century, with Indians still to conquer and waves of immigrants to assimilate, the temptation to find a way to manage the minds of an increasingly diverse and independent-minded population became too great to resist, and the idea of the Common School was born.
  • We would keep our freedom of speech and press, but first we would all be well-schooled by those in power.
  • A deeply democratic idea — the free and equal education of every child — was wedded to a deeply anti-democratic idea — that this education would be controlled from the top down by state-appointed educrats.
  • The fundamental point of the Occupy Wall Street movement is that the apparatus of democratic government has been completely bought and paid for by a tiny number of grotesquely wealthy individuals, corporations, and lobbying groups.  Our votes no longer matter.  Our wishes no longer count.  Our power as citizens has been sold to the highest bidder.
  • Our kids are so drowned in disconnected information that it becomes quite random what they do and don’t remember, and they’re so overburdened with endless homework and tests that they have little time or energy to pay attention to what’s happening in the world around them.
  • If in ten years we can create Wikipedia out of thin air, what could we create if we trusted our children, our teachers, our parents, our neighbors, to generate community learning webs that are open, alive, and responsive to individual needs and aspirations?  What could we create if instead of trying to “scale up” every innovation into a monolithic bureaucracy we “scaled down” to allow local and individual control, freedom, experimentation, and diversity?
  • The most academically “gifted” students excel at obedience, instinctively shaping their thinking to the prescribed curriculum and unconsciously framing out of their awareness ideas that won’t earn the praise of their superiors.  Those who resist sitting still for this process are marginalized, labeled as less intelligent or even as mildly brain-damaged, and, increasingly, drugged into compliance.
  • the very root, the very essence, of any theory of democratic liberty is a basic trust in the fundamental intelligence of the ordinary person.   Democracy rests on the premise that the ordinary person — the waitress, the carpenter, the shopkeeper — is competent to make her own judgments about matters of domestic policy, international affairs, taxes, justice, peace, and war, and that the government must abide by the decisions of ordinary people, not vice versa.  Of course that’s not the way our system really works, and never has been.   But most of us recall at some deep level of our beings that any vision of a just world relies on this fundamental respect for the common sense of the ordinary human being.
  • This is what we spend our childhood in school unlearning. 
  • If before we reach the age of majority we must submit our brains for twelve years of evaluation and control by government experts, are we then truly free to exercise our vote according to the dictates of our own common sense and conscience?  Do we even know what our own common sense is anymore?
  • We live in a country where a serious candidate for the Presidency is unaware that China has nuclear weapons, where half the population does not understand that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, where nobody pays attention as Congress dismantles the securities regulations that limit the power of the banks, where 45% of American high school students graduate without knowing that the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press.   At what point do we begin to ask ourselves if we are trying to control quality in the wrong way?
  • Human beings, collaborating with one another in voluntary relationships, communicating and checking and counter-checking and elaborating and expanding on one another’s knowledge and intelligence, have created a collective public resource more vast and more alive than anything that has ever existed on the planet.
  • But this is not a paeon to technology; this is about what human intelligence is capable of when people are free to interact in open, horizontal, non-hierarchical networks of communication and collaboration.
  • Positive social change has occurred not through top-down, hierarchically controlled organizations, but through what the Berkana Institute calls “emergence,” where people begin networking and forming voluntary communities of practice. When the goal is to maximize the functioning of human intelligence, you need to activate the unique skills, talents, and knowledge bases of diverse individuals, not put everybody through a uniform mill to produce uniform results. 
  • You need a non-punitive structure that encourages collaboration rather than competition, risk-taking rather than mistake-avoidance, and innovation rather than repetition of known quantities.
  • if we really want to return power to the 99% in a lasting, stable, sustainable way, we need to begin the work of creating open, egalitarian, horizontal networks of learning in our communities.
  • They are taught to focus on competing with each other and gaming the system rather than on gaining a deep understanding of the way power flows through their world.
  • And what could we create, what ecological problems could we solve, what despair might we alleviate, if instead of imposing our rigid curriculum and the destructive economy it serves on the entire world, we embraced as part of our vast collective intelligence the wisdom and knowledge of the world’s thousands of sustainable indigenous cultures?
  • They knew this about their situation: nobody was on their side.  Certainly not the moneyed classes and the economic system, and not the government, either.  So if they were going to change anything, it had to come out of themselves.
  • As our climate heats up, as mountaintops are removed from Orissa to West Virginia, as the oceans fill with plastic and soils become too contaminated to grow food, as the economy crumbles and children go hungry and the 0.001% grows so concentrated, so powerful, so wealthy that democracy becomes impossible, it’s time to ask ourselves; who’s educating us?  To what end?  The Adivasis are occupying their forests and mountains as our children are occupying our cities and parks.  But they understand that the first thing they must take back is their common sense. 
  • They must occupy their brains.
  • Isn’t it time for us to do the same?
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    Carol Black, creator of the documentary, "Schooling the World" discusses the conflicting ideas of centralized control of education and standardization against the so-called freedom to think independently--"what the Supreme Court has termed 'the sphere of intellect and spirit" (Black, 2012). Root questions: "who's educating us? to what end?" (Black, 2012).
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    This is a must read. Carol Black echoes here many of the ideas of Paulo Freire, John Taylor Gatto and the like.
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Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Use Appointment Slots on a Google Calendar - 102 views

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    What a great tool to use for parent-teacher conferences, or student-advisor appointments
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Introducing appointment slots in Google Calendar - Official Gmail Blog - 144 views

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    Make your own appointment time slots in Google Great for parent conferences
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Using Appointment slots - Google Calendar Help - 72 views

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    The Appointment slots feature lets you set time slots on your calendar that other people can book.
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Bank of Canada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - 0 views

  • Bank of Canada
  • The bank began operations on March 11, 1935, after the passage of the Bank of Canada Act. Initially the bank was founded as a privately owned corporation in order to ensure it was free from political influence. In 1938, under Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, it became " a special type of " Crown corporation, fully owned by the government; thus, in effect, by the Canadian taxpayers; with the governor appointed by Cabinet. The responsibility for creating small bills was transferred from the finance department and the private banks were ordered to remove their currency from circulation by 1949.[
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Using Groups Effectively: 10 Principles « The Window - 172 views

  • Having students work in groups reaps a bounty of benefits, including boosting students’ social skills and upping the number of “happy campers” in the classroom.
  • As with every aspect of teaching, using groups effectively requires mindful planning and attention to more than who works with whom.
  • Putting people into groups isn’t a magical dust that makes everyone more creative. It has to be the right kind of group, and the group has to match the task
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    • Josh Flores
       
      Really? This is something I'm guilty of. 
  • Do not appoint a group “leader.”
    • Josh Flores
       
      Also guilty
  • small
  • Think threefold
    • Josh Flores
       
      This is why I like starting with a free write
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    "I recently attended a conference session featuring Keith .. an expert on the effectiveness of group efforts. His presentation focused on what has been and potentially can be accomplished through collaboration, but he hinted that just getting people into groups is not the answer. .. Though his focus is on creativity, I think Sawyer's insights apply to our use of groups to foster learning. Here are ten principles I've picked up:"
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The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) [Chaucer Biography] - 42 views

  • Chaucer went to the war in France.
    • Robert Wells
       
      What prompted Edward III to pay ransom for Chaucer's release? Did someone have the King's ear or was he a valued servant of the court?
  •   In the grant of his pension Chaucer is called "dilectus vallectus noster," our beloved yeoman; before the end of 1368 he had risen to be one of the king's esquires.
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  • Michaelmas,
    • Robert Wells
       
      Michaelmas = the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.
  • In the second quarter of 1374 Chaucer lived in a whirl of prosperity.
  • During the next twelve or fifteen years there is no question that Chaucer was constantly engaged in literary work,
  • bundant f
  • In October 1385 Chaucer was made a justice of the peace for Kent.
  • Philippa Chaucer
  • In August 1386 he was elected one of the two knights of the shire for Kent, and with this dignity, though it was one not much appreciated in those days, his good fortune reached its climax.
  • While on the king's business, in September 1390, Chaucer was twice robbed by highwaymen,
  • In 1397 he received from King Richard a grant of a butt of wine yearly. For this he appears to have asked in terms that suggest poverty, and in May 1398 he o
  • btained letters of protection against his creditors, a step perhaps rendered necessary by an action for debt taken against him earlier in the year.
  • he died, on the 25th of the following October. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, and his tomb became the nucleus of what is now known as Poets' Corner.
  • the king granted him a pitcher of wine daily,
    • Robert Wells
       
      His literary period.
  • The development of his genius has been attractively summed up as comprised in three stages, French, Italian and English,
  • Boccaccio's
  • Petrarch's sonnets,
  • occaccio's Decamerone, a book which there is no proof of his having seen.
  • avour was shown him by the new king
  • On the 8th of June he was appointed Comptroller of the Custom and Subsidy of Wools, Hides and Woodfells and also of the Petty Customs of Wine in the Port of London.
  • ars old, and that he was still unma
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Doodle: Easy Scheduling - 0 views

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    A very simple poll generating tool. Doodle helps finding suitable dates and times for group events, e.g., an appointment, a conference call, a family reunion, etc. In addition to scheduling events, Doodle also supports polls in general. That is, groups can conveniently decide on options other than dates.
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