MY NEW DREAM SCHOOL

Today’s post is going to be about EDUCATION (from latin “educare” lead out which means  bring out or develop something latent or potential ). While writing I’m thinking of my students of 5E who’ve just started their senior year and next year after taking their A levels will fly away and go to University where I always hope they’ll be able to fulfill their dreams. But I also think of my freshmen who have just started their High School and are full of expectations for their future that I’m desperately trying not to fall short of. Nevertheless I cannot help thinking of my  school years long time ago when school was so different as technology almost didn’t exist (not even the Tv in class!) but at the same time so similar to the present one since some methodologies haven’t changed much 🙁

I’d like to start with The best speech ever (I know this statement is biased!) by Steve Jobs. Some of you may already know it otherwise it’s worth listening to it and see the script below. Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged Stanford graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks (sconfitte)  including death itself, at the university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005. This speech has made history. Transcript of Steve Jobs’ address:  http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

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The reason why I love Job’s speech is the fact that it sounds genuine, tugging at my heartstrings  and focuses on the positive, on overcoming personal difficulties and never give up pursuing our own dreams, something that sometimes the educational system fails to do. I find it very hard to accept when a student of mine fails and quits school. It should never happen. When I mentioned above the kind of conservative methodology in our school system I meant what you’ll see explained in the next video, a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s (Royal Society of Arts) Benjamin Franklin award.

TASK 1: While watching take down some notes on issues you agree/disagree with.

I find it brilliant and couldn’t agree more. We are now dealing with the Digital Generation and cannot continue teaching the way we did years ago! Do you agree with any of his ideas? Discuss with your partner.

Now, you’ll ask yourself: so what? where may that new paradigm of education lead to? How can we change the way schools work?

First I’m going to show you some photos of my ideal classroom, the “Subject” classroom, my “English” classroom, my dream deferred. These photos were taken some years ago (2012) in Sacramento California during a school exchange I had organized.

Do you think I will ever have the pleasure of “welcoming” my students in my own space where I would hang my posters & students’ artworks, display lots and lots of books you could all USE & SHARE without bureauctratic complex procedures, a space equipped with computers/iPads/ Interactive board,  with a lovely soothing music in the background when needed … ? am I asking too much? The quality of the teaching and learning experience would increase dramatically and all the “dead times” now used to rush from one room to another or sign useless papers or book the Tv would be devoted to preparing the materials for the following session, setting the technological devices or speaking to the students who need it. This is my dream so far 🙂 Would you join this class?

Going back to a more pragmatic matter, a new way of teaching and learning implemented and experimented in the USA is THE FLIPPED CLASSROOM a powerful approach to teaching that helps “students to become learners who can learn for themselves and by themselves” by flipped classroom pioneers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann (2011) In this model of instruction, students watch recorded lectures for homework and complete their assignments, labs, and tests in class.”

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in maths and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script, give students video lectures to watch at home, and do “homework” in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

The pros I see in this system are:

  1. it has truly individualized learning for students who can now move at their own pace, and they can review what they need when they need to.
  2. since students watch most teacher lectures at home and are receiving instruction as homework, they can spend class time working through any gaps or misunderstandings around the content with the teacher acting as “guide on the side.”
  3. it makes it easier for students who may have missed class to keep up because they can watch the videos at any time.
  4. learning  is centered around the student, not the teacher

TASK 2: After watching the video I would like you to reflect on the provoking topic and find out what the cons of this system could be. No system and methodology is perfect and works with all students and in all circumstances but I believe that it is my duty as a teacher to constantly look for “new” ways of reaching my students & find a balance between the use of technology & a humanistic approach.

Last but not least. A great source of interesting video is the website TED: IDEAS WORTH SPREADING (also an iPhone or iPad application) where you can see those videos with subtitles and also read the whole script. Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education

Thanks for your attention! cimy

 

45 thoughts on “MY NEW DREAM SCHOOL

  1. To end up our discussion here’s an interesting article about the pros and cons of the Flipped classroom.
    http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-pro-and-con-mary-beth-hertz?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_content=blog&utm_campaign=flipclass
    As I answered Ambra, in my ideal school there should be a BALANCE between a Humanistic Approach and the use of new Technologies and I’m glad that your comments somehow have reinforced my belief. It’s important to follow new paths but without forgetting the past and our classical tradition. I’m very proud of you all. Thanks

  2. Thanks Ambra, you highlighted two real cons of this system: the difficulty of spending too much time in front of a screen and the importance of “writing” using a pen, something young people are almost forgetting how to do! I corrected your comment: DIVERGENT (divergente) not Diverting.
    I totally understand your point and again I conclude by saying that in my ideal school there should be a BALANCE between a Humanistic Approach and the use of new Technologies and I’m glad that your comments somehow have reinforced my belief. It’s important to follow new paths but without forgetting the past and our classical tradition :). I’m very proud of you. Thanks

    • Thank you too 🙂
      Actually I don’t know why I wrote diverting… It seemed me strange in fact!

  3. I had a problem with the last video and I could watch it only until 14th minute; Anyway I could make me an idea of Salman Khan intents and work.

    First of all I want to express my total agreement with your opinion about Steve Jobs’ speech: starting from real events of his life he had been able to demonstrate his convintions and he is the tangible proof of the fullfilment of his aims. The sentences I loved have been: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” In particular, I found the last part representative of all the speech: at school it’s taught to us a “pre-formed” world, basing on a system which, at our eyes, seems to be the best and only, but Steve Jobs recognizes that it is only the result of the past men’s actions and the stratification of ideas and cultures; in this way it’s only up to us being open-minded and critical, and find out our way to approach the world. I find him a very courageous, open-minded and assertive man. Admirable.

    In fact, I have to recognize that I never thougth that our educational system could be brought for discussion (that’s the proof we unconsciuosly accepct the system for what they give to us). But I completly agree with the concept that ‘DIVERGING thinking’ does exist and it’s condemned by school. And I found this very sad: the best minds ever have been the ‘DIVERGING’ ones, the only that have been able to conceive revolutionary ideas and projects (e.g.: Copernico, Einstein and Jobs).

    How solve this problem?
    I think the problem of school- which is all the same since writing had been invented- is to find an objective and regular way to value students; Obviously this caused the flattening of teaching and valuing methods, compromising those minds that are ‘diverging’.
    Maybe technology has found a solution.
    Khan’s project, as you said, surely permits an individual approach of the single student to the subject in the way he can elaborate, understand and deepen the topic in the way he prefers.

    This can be surely a good solution to let ideas fly, but on the other hand, as a bad aspect of this method, I think that sometimes it could become too limitative for the student who wouldn’t experience different methods of learning from hims. This system would maybe compromise group-works skills- which in business are always more requested- and the possibility to learn from mates, which I always find very useful.
    I also don’t think this method could reveal as efficent: I believe new topics to study are much more difficult to assimilate than one I have already heard about; So undertaking an argument on my own, without the teacher’s explanation, and eventually asking her for clarifications, takes much more time than normal.
    In addition- maybe I’m still too conservative, and now very honest- I find “tech-homeworks” very stressfull, only at the thought of switching on the pc. Without any doubts, they are hundreds times more interactive and stimulating, but I still prefer studying on books and papery materials. Two are the factors of my avversion towards studying with technology: the first is the simple physical difficulty to stay for long times in front of a still (differently from TED’s students), bright monitor; the second is the need of having something to write (with pen) on. I know that are banal causes, but I feel them as a requirement to fix concepts on my mind.

    Maybe the solution to the damage of “diverging thinkers” have to be searched also on the valuing methods. The “diverging thinker” is as diverging as to being able to approach on his own way the subject, without any revolutionary methods that induce him to do it, but his real ostacle is the way he is tested, which doesn’t correspond to his diverging way to study.
    So TED could be a great innovative and stimulating method to study for the future generations (also two years younger than me, actually!), but, as for me, I would find really difficult adopting it.

    Now my eyes are rebelling towards me, it’s time to end 😉

  4. I think that the main objective of the school is to supply the next generations the means to live their lifes and to build their future. It means to face up to problems and find rapid solutions. In my opinion, there are mainly two different ways to prepare the students to do this. The first one, more used by the scholastic system, is mnemonic: you have to study the past, or theories elaborated in the past by famous persons, in order to make their experience yours. To apply this method are not necessary particular intellectual charatteristics, but just a good memory.
    The second one is, n my opinion, more intellectual: you’ll be taught generally how to reason when there is a problem, of course giving example, but without giving you the “right solution” to your problem, just suggesting you to find the BETTER SOLUTION FOR YOU!!!

    It’s clear that the second system can’t exist without the first, but in our scholastic system, the second is nearly absent.
    That’s why I personally think that our school is good only for de most intelligent people, who, without the support of the teachers, are able to abstract generic ways of reasoning from specific problems.

    So, I’m sure our system is not so bad as the video wants to convince us, but I just think that the school could be incremented by a lot of beautifull ideas also contained in the video, for example a particular attention to the divergent thinking.
    What really surprised me about this video, is that it does not speak about meritocracy, a strong motivator for the students to improove their results.

    About technology, I had to think a lot, but I arrived at the conclusion that it is definitely an attentive instrument because it captures the students’ attention thanks to its innovative but, one day, in the future, it will become the “boring normality” and, I fear, it will lose the strong attentive power that it has now.

    • Good point Giacomo but from what you say “in our scholastic system, the second- CRITICAL THINKING – is nearly absent” makes me rather sad because actually ALL YOUR COMMENTS SHOW THE OPPOSITE. But … are students like you a kind of élite?
      Meritocracy is very important in my ideal school too and the efforts should always be rewarded as much as brilliant ideas, critical thinking, originality, creativity, cooperation … After all in real life nothing “worth” comes without commitment and dedication: in sports they say NO PAIN, NO GAIN!
      Last, your conclusion made me think … who knows, maybe in ten years time students will be fed up with technology ( I’d rather say “a BAD USE of it”!) and will turn to the old books. Anyway I’ll be there with both my books and my iPads, as I love both 🙂

  5. I agree with what Ken Robinson said: one of the problems of the school is that the current system is the same used during the 18th century and 19th century; so it is designed for a different way of thinking. Now with the progress of technologies and mentality, things must be different; but being different means not only to improve schools but change the entire system of learning. At the moment in italy schools fill the whole day of a student: during the day the first thinking you must have is the school, and sports and hobbies come after. I think this way of learning it’s too oppressive: in this way most people hate school and doesn’t learn at their best.
    Another thing I agree is the problem that now an university degree doesn’t mean a job, in the contrary often an electrician or an expert or someone who obtained a diploma from a technical high school find a job.

    In my opinion the Khan Academy it isn’t a good way to learn: of course all things are clearly explained but I think it’s only a talking book with some pictures. The only cons i find is that a blind can learn without using Braille.
    There isn’t the contact with other people, you can’t ask something and immediatly have a reply.So if you want to learn staying confortable at home (Elias) you can do a lesson using skype or other program, this can be a good idea for having lessons with far people, or for people who have serious problem: people that can’t move because is paralysed.

    • Alberto can you honestly say that your whole day is filled up by school? I can hardly believe it! Moreover comparing a university degree to a diploma the way you do ( generalizing without scientific data who finds a job and who doesn’t) is just a way of trivializing the issue and simplifying its terms. As we said in class yes the Khan Academy may become just a “talking book with pictures” if the ATTITUDE of learners and teachers doesn’t change.

  6. Task 1: I definitely agree with Sir Ken Robinson, he showed us how our system is retrograde, is still based on the concept that if you don’t study you can’t have the opportunity to reach a certain social class. This is a totally wrong concept, to reconnect at the speech of steve jobs who did’t have finish the college for follow what really interest him, and our educational system punishes if the aspiration of someone is handiwork or not to continue the school. We need a change, we need a school system who helps everyone to make come out the talents enclosed in each of us. Because we aren’t all the same, everyone have a special talent, an area where he/she works at his/her best! With this i can reconnect which the Task 2, well I think that that type of education can really helps everyone to get the best from the school and to improve the skills. During a lesson the time of learning of a average student is of 20/30 minutes, but the rest of the time the mind is distracted and tired
    by all the other annoying things in the class, instead at home the time that a student spend is condensed in 30 minutes per subjects, not 1 hour, and you can solve all your problem in class with the teacher. So I think that, over the years, the school must change from the deep, to gives fair opportunity to everyone.

    • Paolo “if you don’t study you can’t have the opportunity to reach a certain social class.” is not exactly what was meant in the video. Studying, especially nowadays, is very important and Steve Jobs (I recommend his biography) even if he dropped out from University was an incredibly bright student, a “nerd” we would call him, the best of all. He just didn’t fit the traditional system. Nevertheless most of the students are just normal average people and in order to achieve something in life it’s rather important to get a decent education. Not so much to “get a higher social rank in society” but to be able to lead a better life full of stimuli and “cultural” improvements. That’s why I still believe in the importance of a suitable education … for everybody, everywhere. For “divergent” thinkers as much as for “all” learners, from all 6 intelligences. 🙂

  7. Task 1:
    I didn’t understand everythink, because it’s a deep reflection, but I can say that all I understood is absolutely correct. There are a lot of problems that would be solved in our system, and we would feel better about it, also having a better future in my opinion. The real problem is that it’s really difficult totally change something, and I think that now is an utopia. We don’t even know how to start, how to make all the system know it, and who is at the top don’t want to change the method, beacause in their opinion it’s good, and it’s too labored change the things. So the only way is a revolution, but i don’t think that we are able to do it.
    Finally, I’m sorry but I think that you won’t have your personal classroom, because it’s something totally opposite from our system.

    Task 2:
    I think that it’s something revolutionary, and might work and be very effective, but this is really hard to realize and it’s very risky: it would work only if the explanations are perfectly clear (this need time to be checked and be sure). If this condition is satisfied, I think that everythink would be great, because is the student that decides when he is ready and concentrate to follow a lesson, and we could stop it, rewind to understand something that we missed, also repeat a whole lesson. And finally, we could have a lot of time to dedicate to clarify our doubts (we have not this time beacause we have to run, run and run, and we are late, bla bla bla -.-“) and to practise all together (more brains work better than only one).

    • Before talking of a revolution let’s start with little changes, step by step, changing our way of looking at things, COMMITTING to improve our system all together. Stop running & find some time for yourself to “concentrate” and “Try to” ( sforzarsi di) understand also something that seems difficult. 😉

  8. Let’s start from the question: “Would you join this class?”
    My answer is: Undoubtedly YES.
    But the true question, IMHO, is: “Will this system be used? And will it become part of our educational system?” On this side, I must say, I’m quite pessimistic. I think that unless our government and (most of) the teacher change, NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES will ever be made to the way teaching is carried out: unfortunately, the idea that a frontal lesson is more useful than the “flipped” one is very rooted in our teacher’s mind (I’d have some firsthand examples), and compelling such people to do a flipped classroom, would be a total failure.
    Anyway, once these conditions are respected, I’d personally LOVE that way of teaching.
    Talking about the first video, by Sir Robinson, I agree with the fact that we’re dealing with an anachronism: today’s generation with the teaching method of over 200 years ago. As every anachronism, even this one fails totally: it’s NOT calibrated on our way of learning, it DOES NOT respect the true attention span young people have. In the eighteenth century, most of the learners were ADULTS, not guys, therefore had an attention span WAY greater than ours, even because most of the times people who attended lesson REALLY wanted to.
    Obviously, it’s not presumable to ought the perfect educational system, simply, IMO, the flipped one (nowadays) is less flawed and leaky and absurd than the actual one.

    About Khan’s Academy, I think that’s a perfect & brilliant way to REVISE topics, not
    to LEARN them. Having a “correspondence course” on the Internet, has in my opinion two big cons: the first is the lack of interaction, the second is the consequent fact that, if something is not understood, the possibility of asking explanation in a bit precluded.

    Davide

    • Dear david, it’s people like you, faster learners who usually get bored during traditional lessons & sometimes pester the teacher – so to speak 😉 – that would benefit from this system but as you say the interaction with the teacher they “respect” is of utmost importance. Anyway do not become lazy and keep nurturing and cultivating your curiosity, whether it comes from a frontal lesson or a video or a peer. Wasting your precious brain is a crime and I will not allow it!!

  9. The basics of school education have been set in a time far from the present day, when to study or not to study meant choosing whether to do manual work or office work. So it was clear to the student the ultimate goal.

    Today the school has standardized education by providing a range of information and bombarding our minds, causing the loss of our intellectual imagination and creating in us a kind of boredom continues.

    To reform the system we need a revolutionary idea that is able to give the student a concrete goal. Often today the most common phrases by educators: parents or teachers, are “apply yourself ! study ! you ‘ll see that you’ll be good in the future …”, but what future?

    With regard to the technical school education, I agree that current techniques are now outdated. Lessons are in danger of becoming boring and uninteresting. The methods used in the “flipped classroom” could be a solution; to see the lessons home with calm and over again and then discuss with the teacher maybe going into his “ideal classroom” would be the maximum.

    This form of education is important because it doesn’t put in competition the students, doesn’t send them the anxiety to learn all immediately to prove something to someone, but respects the timing and pace of each one.

    Probably the only downside would be the loss of the interaction with other people, in particular with the teacher.

    Finally I think that the principles set out in the speech of Steve Jobs, are very important, in fact to believe in yourself and in your future is essential for anyone who begins his journey of life.

    I also agree that often the news that seem bad, then become an opportunity for change and look for new solutions, even better than before.
    I hope to be able to connect the dots of my life, when I will look back.

    • Thanks Simone, it seems the topic has interested you eventually. When you talk about “the anxiety to learn all immediately”that’s exactly what prevents some students from learning and I really wish I could respect all students’ different learning styles and times of learning. Now it’s not very easy & I don’t like it.
      About your last remark yes “when one door shuts in fron of you a new one opens up” 🙂

  10. According to me the current school’s system doesn’t work so bad, but it could surely work better.
    In my opinion the main problem is the administration of money. The government invests public funds on schools and I don’t think that it economizes on culture because it’s known by all that culture is the base of the future’s state. The problem is that money are often spent wrongly; some examples are the useless computers in our classes but also the 30million of euros invested on tablets for teachers from South Italy.
    Talking about methodology in our school system I don’t pretend to find the perfect one. So I think that a good solution can be alternating some methodologies with other ones, because everyone study and learn in a different ways so students can discover their method (we can’t take for granted that everyone knows their!). So there aren’t students who will privilege in confront of others (all the different intelligents should be identified). For this reason I won’t appreciate the Khan’s method. Technology should be a supplement of the lessons in school: summarizing videos of the lesson can be great for a student but they can’t replace the role of the teacher.

  11. Task1: In this video emerge many interesting aspects. Personally I agree with the discourse of collaboration, often the children of today are struggling to work together with each other and prefer to do everything yourself. Being able to work with others allows you to see their point of view on many things and also their working method by which one can learn or ideas.
    Regarding the teaching method we used to do frontal lessons and have homework to do in the afternoon, then the next time when you are asked in class the teacher devotes very little time because she has hurry to do something else or because the rest of the class are come and so you can not “waste time”. This thing gives me a little trouble because I think it’s fair that everyone can have all the explanations you need to prepare for the best.

    Task 2: For as I have been accustomed since childhood, it makes me feel weird that you can follow the lessons at home at your own pace and then do homework in class. In our school system must make a certain number of things in that period of time is decided by the teacher and is the same for the whole class. But every child may need more time on a topic and less in another, but this is not considered. The idea that everyone is free to take the time he needs to learn the better I like it very much because it gives the chance for everyone to get to get a good result without feeling inferior because they did not test well of others.
    It would be quite a challenge trying to work in a different way from that to which we are accustomed.

    • You’re right Federica & when you say the lesson”is decided by the teacher and is the same for the whole class”that’s exactly what I’d like to change because even the CHOICE of some topics – under the “guide” of a knowledgeable and experienced teacher who can ive you the right advice – should be SHARED between STUDENTS & TEACHERS. That way I’m sure we’d get much better results 😉

  12. Task1: I completely agree with what is said by Sir Ken Robinson, in the video: is requires a change.
    We can’t learn as the same manner of how learnt our parents when they went to school or ,even less, with the teaching methods using at the time of our grandparents or even before.
    We need to learn in a modern and innovative way: a way that must follows the world of work and with this requires.
    The idea of a classroom only for the english is brilliant for example: a space rich of creativity and proactive in which, I suppose, a student can learn better the teachings; in which the comprehension is facilitated and more pleasant.
    Is right leave the greyness and the stagnant climate of the school of the past and of the less useful teaching methods. The colour and the proactive of the modernity, the technology ,the use of tablet (or pc) normally during the lessons can safe the school system and grow the man of the future.
    Directly connected with this argument is the Task2 that offers the use of technological resources during the lessons, in particular the use of videos but also the use of pc or other interactive tools: in this point I agree with what said in this text Federico Mazzon ;also I think the use of videos can help to fix the concepts and ,moreover, makes the lessons more pleasant ,more interesting and less boring: a gain for teachers and,first of all, for the students.
    The students can gain more time for do what they want during they social and sporting life;also in class can waste less time and make the most of the best the period of concentration, facilitated the comprehension.

    • Yes Federico “the students can SAVE more time for do what they want during they social and sporting life;” but still they need to COMMIT and it requires time anyway, not LESS time but time spent in a different way! When you say “also in class can waste less time” again no system can IMPOSE MOTIVATION it is always the student who has to make the EFFORT: 🙂

  13. I would like to start my comment talking about the method adopted by Khan Accademy; I think that having the possibility to watch educational videos every time you want is a great breakthrough for the teaching but this new system can’t replace the traditional frontal lessons with a “real” teacher : as the first video says, the current system goes back to the Enlightenment and in my opinion the basic idea of having a teacher that explain you the topic is the best. Today, all these new technologies should be exploited but they can’t do the work of a teacher.
    Also, for the same reason I think that books can’t be totally replaced by the new technological tools like computers, tablets ect…It’s more practical studying from paper books, while techology should be used to deepen the topic .
    It is very interesting the theory of the “Flipped Classroom” of doing homework and assignments with the teacher’s help because you would have more time to resolve your doubts; this part of learning is the most important but also the most neglected .

    About the first video, I think Sir Robinson described very well the situation of the current school; I agree with the idea that the students are anaesthetic, because it isn’t taught the critical sense but it’s required to learn more knowledge possible . Also I think it’s true that learning in groups is “the stuff of growth” because when you work in groups you are motivated to compare yourself with others and in this way you have the possibility to learn something more.

    Finally, I like very much the idea of the “subject classroom” : every teacher can have any kind of technologies that he/she consider necessary to teaching and to make lesson more understandable.
    Since I was at the elementary school I wanted a school like the American’s one where every teacher have his/her classroom.

  14. In my opinion Sir Ken Robinson is right: the way we learn is overtook. So we have to change it (or at leats improve it), trying to make it compatible with modern learning and teaching tools. But I think it is quite difficult because this way of thinking is actually rooted in our society so it is hard to improve it. We should build new schools and form teachers in order to change the sistem from the base.

    I further can’t see how filling the school with sheets and posters could help a person learning in a easier way, but I back the idea of a library in each classroom, so teacher and students can bring a book they think is interesting to read and land it to someone else.

    I am totally disappointed by the flipped classroom. In my opinion a student can’t learn a new argument simply watching a video: the monitor of a personal computer can’t substitute a uman teacher, who can better explain a notion and clarify someone’s doubts.

    Rather than the “Flipped classroom” strategy I found the “academy” led by Salma Khan more interesting: after a lesson about a new matter at school, a student can integrate what he learned with a video, which easely explain that lesson but do not substitute the teacher’s role.

    Well then, in my opinion the actual way of teaching and learning is not so bad, but we can improve it integrating new technologies, which allow us to deepen that knowledge we are introduced to at school.

    • Glad to hear it, especially from you who used to get distracted quite easily … when you were a kid of course.

  15. Ken Robinson in his video makes a rigorous and thorough analysis of the traditional education system, underlining its cons. These are basically due to the impossibility for a plan, yet revolutionary when it was come up with during the Enlightenment, to maintain its efficiency nowadays as well. I definitely agree with the fact that schools are modelled on the factory lines of the Industrial Revolution where students, divided into different groups according to their age and not to the learning methods they personally prefer, are regarded as standardized goods. And if, as it is in fact, the whole system is focused on standardization, teachers must follow certain patterns which make the individual needs and skills, that every single child has, more and more difficult to be brought out.

    My deep belief in the value of individuality in the learning process leads me to object to Robinson’s emphasis on collaboration, regarded as indispensable for growth. Though cooperating is an essential skill we have to develop in numerous circumstances, I think that everyone should acquire knowledge in the best way he learns, not necessarily working in groups. An analytical student should have the opportunity to analyze, a creative one to take advantage of his artistic flair. Another downside of group work is that it requires considerable maturity and a great sense of responsibility not to get tempted by the distractions that its funny side inevitably offers. Finally, students become aware of their personal strengths and weaknesses, only if individually evaluated.

    This is also, in my opinion, the riskiest aspect of the English classroom suggested by our Teacher. In a stimulating environment which provides students with technology devices, books and posters, immature students could find it difficult to concentrate and thus play for the sake of it, without focusing on learning.

    I think that some students’ perfectly understandable immaturity is the main disadvantage of the “flipped classroom” system. Although teachers can check the type and number of lectures children watch, they can’t monitor the attention the student pays when following the lesson at home. The only other downside that I would like to point to is that the teachers who cooperate with Khan Academy have to be particularly dynamic and extremely flexible because they won’t work anymore to a rigid schedule which characterizes frontal lessons.

    I have really had great difficulty in finding out what the disadvantages of this system might be. It is absolutely extraordinary the fact that it allows to listen to lessons over and over again without fear of interrupting the teacher’s talk, fear which normally arises in traditional lessons, and, even more important, every child can learn at his own pace.

    Missing classes would not be a problem then, because the discussion with teachers may occur anytime since their help is personalized to the every single student’s exact requirements.

    Finally, as American statistics show, thanks to Khan Academy most students learn more quickly and get better results. “Flipped classrooms” let students do their best and, with their personalized approach to study, help them discover their passions and propensities. And only following their heart and intuition, as Steve Jobs says, they will be able to fulfill their dreams.

    • Thanks Sofia for your knowledgeable comment I disagree when you say that everyone should acquire knowledge in the best way he learns, not necessarily working in groups. The contemporary world requires more and more the two skills you mention later on : FLEXIBILITY & DYNAMISM.
      Paying attention in class just beacause of the fear of the teacher that makes you behave so does not mean you reach maturity and responsability. It’s the task of the teacher (and we’ll need new competences believe me) to find the right strategies to REWARD the students who have worked well either in groups or from home (there are lots of new ways) and to readdress the ones who have been disruptive and lazy. After all don’t students get distracted even in front of a book now or copy their homework?? The problem is HOW to be effective for the largest number of learners because it’s very easy to tech bright and motivated students like you but the society should try to take care also of the les … fortunate 😉

  16. I think the first video, “Changing education paradigms”, is full of concepts really interesting; they made me reflect about the system of education. I agree with the idea that in our days a laurea doesn’t guarantee a job like in the past. This is caused by the economic crisis that in these last years have hit the European countries. Indeed in Italy a lot of young don’t find a job. This present situation is very critic and it’s also worrying for the new generation.
    A point of the video that I disagree is about the thought that education is modelled on the interests of industrialisation. He says that schools have the same system of a factory. I don’t think it is true. In my opinion, students aren’t like products of manufactory. The school have the purpose to give an knowledge, but it also try to stimulate the young minds and develop personal ability, creativity and imagination. Ken Robinson believes that children, during the growth, loose their creativity, because they go to school. I think that the less of this ability is determinate by other factors. Indeed everyone in own life makes a lot of experiences that make him conscious of the reality. For example Giacomo Leopardi, important Italian poet, believed that young people have more imagination of the adults, because they’re naïve and they don’t still understand the reality. Therefore this loss is a normal process of all the humanity, and isn’t influenced by the school.

    About the “subject classroom” in my opinion is a fantastic project. Every teacher can have the opportunity to organized the classroom in the way they prefer. I think it is also stimulating for the students that they can concentrate better.

    Khan’s method is a ingenious idea; it has helped a lot of students with dfficult that have need to revise o tu understand a particular argument. Like some my classmates say this way of educating can’t susbstaine totally the frontal lesson. For young is indispensable have a teacher that is like a reference point.

    Observing the children I notice that they are different by like we were. Certainly the tecnology have influenced them; they are sorrounded by videogames, televison, computer, moblilephone ect. and like Ambra says, they learn soon to use computer. Certainly in the future in the new system of educating the tecnology will be used more.

    • Thanks Giulia,
      education will never guarantee a job any longer but I hope it will provide young people with the necessary skills – above all FLEXIBILITY – to survive in the world 🙂

  17. scusi prof l’ultimo post è mio e non dell’ambra perchè ieri ho pubblicato io il post dell’ambra visto che lei non poteva. A quanto pare si è salvato con il suo nome…scusi è colpa mia che non ho controllato prima di postare il commento…

  18. Personally, I was not shocked by this post because now all our futures (or almost) is based on the technology!
    In fact, just a few days ago, we spent some time with the teacher Gardonio, talking and arguing about how technology is affecting not only our lives outside of school, but also on the school in the last period.
    I agree with everything that has been said before regarding cooperation between the old traditions of the method of teaching (in my opinion are the basis of teaching) and methods that technology offers to us.
    Me too, like others, would like to have a classroom dedicated to a single subject because maybe only in this way, you really get in contact with the subject you are studying. Indeed, these may be just a much more effective way to bring attention and curiosity to discover and learn everything about that subject. 🙂
    While for the video of salman khan, honestly I really appreciate the idea of these lessons online, but I don’t agree how they want to use them.
    In fact, I believe it is important and essential that the lessons must be done by the professors. In my opinion, the fact of having a person in front of you, who tells you and repeats you, it helps you to understand the same lesson using different methodologies. But this will never be possible with online lessons.
    Their usefulness consists only in strengthening the knowledge we have learned after the explanation of the teachers.
    So I think we have to be very careful of how it is evolving the method of teachin before it is too late. In fact I would never want that our children or our children’s children can’t appreciate how it can be made ​​a lesson by a teacher.
    In my opinion it would be too sad and a reality that I wouldn’t share!!!

  19. The first video was great both for the graphic and the thought!! It’s unbelievable that we work with a method create in the 1700, all is evolved, first the student and the teacher, why not the method??

    I agree with Sir Ken Robinson when he says that now the new generations are anesthetized. The bad thing is that the school should awake them, but, especially for the new generation, that come in contact too soon with a world of stimulating things like computer, mobile-phone or the internet, in two word an Interactive world, is difficult to work with a flat method that doesn’t ask a particular input. The lessons is: the teacher talks, students write and they try to understand, they do the exercise with the method that it’s taught them and they do test, maybe without don’t really understand what they do, only for a vote at the end of the year. I think that a big problem of our system is the fact that is based on a judgment, not everybody study for the pleasure of learn, but because someone when we were child says us: “go to school, working, at the end take an university degree and find a job”, instead we should study because we want make an our “bagaglio culturale”.

    I think that the “flipped classroom” and also the Kahn Academy can be a good idea but it should be integrated with a theory’s front lessons. In my opinion the system should be like this: a fist front lessons where the teacher explain, then the students at home study with the video and last start a series of lessons where the guys affront their problem and do exercise. In my opinion the front lessons and all class world are important to confront with another people, especially with the teacher that is an adult with a lot of experience, I think to our teachers, all of them, every lessons teach us something that go over the simple lessons is a part of life and personal experience, the best example I think is the teacher of history and philosophy that have a really lively and rich life.

    I want focus the point in another problem that in my opinion is also important to change in our school system, I think that there aren’t a good system of orientating, we are call to do one of the most important choice of our life and we don’t have a really program of information. Last year we saw some conference by different university where a person talked about for an hour but we didn’t have a really contact with this world. I think that between high school and university should be a period where we are really oriented about university and work.

    We can change if everybody, especially who govern, understand that young people are the future and about them we should invest the most part of fund.
    A great and good nation is founded on great and good persons!!

    • Yes Annalisa but … it’s sad to hear that the system is based on EVALUATION/ASSESSMENT ( not judgement) and students study only to get a good MARK (not vote). No system can impose MOTIVATION and I don’t think we have to blame the school or the society or the families if young people are not motivated. This is the time to DO something and change “your” society. 🙂

  20. I was really impressed and involved by this topic that made me think a lot about the changes of the world we live in during the last centuries. Certainly the growth of the technologies had an enormous impact on people’s mentality and, inevitably, on different aspects of their lives and habits, not least on institutions that are set in our society from ages like school. Personally I think that it’s necessary to be open minded and innovative, in order to adapt school to the neccecities the digital era implies, but I also think that there are important aspects of our traditional school system that we can’t forget. In my opinion the principal function of school is to be a good training for life, teaching kids how to concentrate and to behave in a work environment, even when they aren’t interested on what they are doing. That’s why I am thinking about a shool system that matches both the models, to preserve the right sides and to improve the bad sides of the old one.

    It would be a pleasure for me to have a lesson in the ideal classroom. I think that having one would help us to be much more involved in the subject. If we could have a lesson in a “subject classroom” we would physically enter in a parallel world and we would be helped even in separating the different subjects. I also completely agree with Riccardo when he says that it would bea n efficient way to under stand the personalità of the teacher.

    About the third video, there are aspects in which I totally agree and some others in which I have some perplexities. I think that this new teaching approach would be perfect to preserve all the different aspects of students: all kids are different and this way they could have all the time they need. Moreover I think that kids recieve a lot of imputs from their outside world as the first video said, so these interactive lessons would be surely congenial to the new digital generations.

    On the other hand I think that this method would be very good as a support and as research material, but I don’t believe it could completely substitute a frontal lesson in class in terms of learning. I also find that this system would probably be efficient for adults, who are able to manage indipendently, but not that much for children, who are less responsible because of their young age. Besides I strongly believe in the ability of the team work, as the first video said, but I think that this method would lead to an estreme individualism that would kill this capacity. In fact, new generations children are very used to be on their own playing with videogames, that’s why I believe that they don’t need more excuses to stay alone, in case they should be stimulated to share their experiences with other people of their age.

    • Your comment is very consistent & shows great critical sense. As regards individualism I think the Flipped Classroom just reverses the hours of solitary homework you already spend in the afternoon by devoting the classroom time to “group activities”, “cooperative learning or “remedial work” (recupero) depending on the student.
      Furthermore you say young students are not responsible, I get your point, but isn’t it our task to teach them to be so?

  21. Task 1: I completely agree with Sir Kent Robinson. Nowadays school isn’t up to the contemporary society. We need to change it. But how we can reform an entire instruction sistem? In my opinion, are teachers and students together, that have to find a solution, because teachers and students will become the people directly interested at the new education sistem, so they can find the best solution. Another very interesting thing is that education make young people lose their creativity and their capacity of think unconventionally. In this way people grow up all equal, like machines, without personality. Open mind young people are necessary in our society, because they can make all the world live better, using for example, new ideas for the future about environment, politic and economy, subjects that now are in crisis.
    Task 2: The Khan Academy use videos to explain lessons. That is a great idea because you can study at home when you want, calmly and using the method you like most. Is a visual method, so students like me, maybe find it more interesting than a normal lesson. But there is a problem. When you study, you need someone who explain you the things that you don’t understand, someone avaiable to help you when you need. With the computer, watching a video, you don’t have this possibility. If you don’t understand something explained in the video, how can you learn it? In my opinio the experience of a teacher, and his capacity of explain notions in different ways, is basic to make students learn better. So, the Khan Academy method is usefull if someone whereby you can compare join the lesson with you, or with the class.

    • Yes Federico the teacher’s presence is important to explain & help yhe student who needs it but don’t you think that the AIM of education is to make students INDEPENDENT and autonomous and not constantly seeking the “answer” and help of a teacher?

  22. TASK 1: Listening to the video on the changes of school paradigms, became evident that the school culture is never changed by the Enlightenment, at least in Italy. Books and books with a single answer to every question. This phenomenon restricts the mind of each student, which is not used to looking over the “Leopardi’s hedge”! Because of this I agree to the collaboration between students, but also with the teachers for a more open-minded school.
    With this system of discussion we create different categories of students: for knowledge and for initiative.
    Going back to this, I disagree with the fact that the students are divided by ages and not for skills, which would result less effort while learning for some students and a greater confidence in the collaboration.ù

    TASK 2: The Khan Academy has become a revolutionary way to learn knowledge from the comfort of home, the best space for study! The lessons are clear, schematic and clips! What is missing? They aren’t still interactive, continue to lead the student to a frontal approach, “without any kind of contact.”
    Could be used very well as support in classes for teaching, associating it to a practical lesson.
    Last week spoke of the experiment to take advantage of a tablet to enhance learning. That would be great, because you can create interactive software and all the weight of the books would be reduced to a few megabite of media. You have to ask, however, that the problem reflected in the new generations: some think to be able to use the computer only being all time on the internet, and never opening a word or excel file.
    Before thinking of computerizing schools we should think to computerize people!

    • Sorry Elias it’s not clear whether you are in favor of against dividing learners according to their skills and not their ages. I agree with you about the importance of iNTERACTION that’s what school is for otherwise we’d just need a cold computer. Even in this moment, the pc is a MEANS to exchange our IDEAS as human beings but don’t worry we’ll discuss in class tomorrow 🙂 And last but not least I couldn’t agree more with your last remark and add: before providing schools with the latest new technology it’s necessary to refresh & innovate the TEACHING METGHODOLOGIES otherwise it’s going to be a complete failure and the new iPad will be used like the old (and lovely!) books.

  23. In my opinion Italian’s programme of education isn’t so bad! What is wrong with our system it’s how our school is administrated. There are too often no money, no qualified teachers and lots of other bureaucratic problems.
    But I want to focus on the method of teaching, and like Ken Robinson says, we are using the method of 1700: there is hours of frontal lessons, homework and the next day at school there is the possibility to clarify the doubts, but teachers usually don’t spent more than 5-10 minutes on that.
    Salman Khan method can be see as a solution for this problem, but there are points that I don’t share.
    Watching that videos at home it’s for sure an advantage because, like he says, you can stop and repeat how many times you want, without wondering to make lose time to a person, but in my opinion a video can’t substitute a real teacher. Frontal lesson is important, because from a teacher you don’t learn only concepts, but it’s also an opportunity of confront with an adult.
    Maybe the problem is that my generation isn’t used to use the computer so frequently. It can be helpful when I have to clarify a doubt or to search some informations, but nothing is better than a book for studying.
    New generations are certainly more open to technology, they are able to use a computer at 4-5 years (I learn to use it at 9-10 years), so at school they will probably learn from interactive books and videos more than what we do now.
    In conclusion I want to say that Jobs’s speech was very inspiring and he launched a great message too young people!
    We have to run our world! 🙂

    • You are right Ambra the interaction with the adult/teacher is of the utmost importance but I think it can become more effective if it’s individualized, thus not boring the students who have understood nor making the kid who needs mor time feel “left behind”. What you say about the importance books still have for your generation is so true. You already feel a “generation gap” with the younger ones, that’s incredible. Think about me who, when I went to school had no technology AT ALL (we speak of Digital immigrants!) and am now converting to a new world… I find it so challenging and stimulating!!

  24. Well, I must explain my opinion in an orderly way because the topic it’s very complex and there are lots of variables.
    First, I’m going to answer to “Task 1”. Globally I don’t agree with the video, it says right things like the old age of our school but it tend to be too pessimistic. Obviously nowadays all is changing: the stimuli that children are put up to, economic situations, technological devices, … but these aren’t reasons to condemn School and his institution.
    The video defends kids because they are stimulated by computers, iPads, TV and advertising so they can’t be concentrated on what the teacher is teaching (“boring stuff”), in my opinion, there is nothing more wrong. Now we need more concentration than some years ago, children (the adults of the future) must learn to separate advertising and school, so teachers must teach how to concentrate.
    Also texts that can analyse the level of knowledge of the entire population are very useful, I’m hardly thinking about why these texts are so criticized: the video says that “Divergent thinkers” are damaged and it’s true but “Divergent thinkers” must learn a method to be understand by other people, otherwise how could teachers know their level of knowledge?
    Another topic is learning in groups: the video explains that it’s the most important way to grow up and it’s true but the members of the group must have studied before!
    Instead I agree with the video about the differences between a boy that went to school in the past and another boy that couldn’t go, fortunately now, in our countries, there aren’t these problems.
    Finally, my last criticism is: we are not anesthetized, our children and school isn’t a factory, it’s too easy to compare it with a business. I’ve never thought about school like a great anesthetizing factory, it’s not reality!

    About the question “Would you join this class?” my answer is yes. I think that classrooms like these ones could be a great solution in schools because every teacher could create his/her little world with everything they want and everything they need. This would be also a great way to understand the personality of the teacher!

    I’m sorry for this schematic comment but there are too much topics, points of view and different videos to comment on that I really can’t write one essay. So now I’m going to answer to “Task 2”.
    Salman Khan’s video describes on possible solution for the problems that people find in School. I think it’s a great method but only for university and for adult students when they want to re-begin studying, because they can have the opportunity to re-view old or missed lessons, and this is great! I don’t think that this system could be use in other types of schools for some reasons:
    • Students during their childhood and their youth before university have to learn how to concentrate on lessons, how to listen and write notes, how to interrupt the teacher during his/her explanation (especially shy people) and they must learn to store the most notions and concepts they can.
    • With Khan’s method all it is focused on doing homework and clarifying the doubts in class, but normally students ask teachers to help them on doing a particular function (for example) or how they have to answer correctly to a question in literature, … students aren’t forgotten by teachers as Khan’s seems to affirm.
    • Finally we must think about technological problems like bad connections to Internet that some houses could have or an old computer that works slowly and the family haven’t the money to buy a new one.

    In conclusion, I don’t want to be too strict but I don’t agree with what the videos declare. I’ll accept changes, because I’m not too conservative, but I don’t accept pessimistic points of view regarding the School, we must always think how to improve it but we can’t be nagging, nothing could be changed in one second.

    • do you highlight the greatest issue in education now which is right the very short ATTENTION SPAN of learners. I accept your remark about the importance of learning to CONCENTRATE and this search of new “methods” heads right in that direction to answer the question “But HOW can I make my students do that?”. Criticising a system does not mean refusing it but finding ways to improve it and I’m very glad you have the opportunity to express your point of view. It means your CRITICAL THINKING hasn’t been killed in these years but on the contrary it has been kindled and nurtured 🙂

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