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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in problem-solving

Posted by on in Teaching Strategies


The Internet is the single most disruptive and creative force in the history of human kind. It changed our lives. While not the only things, digital products are things we buy now. Product consumption is undergoing a revolution. The nature of work will never be the same. The middle men are constantly being cut out. The innovation in how various services are provided has had an even greater impact on global society and economy.

Google is 19 years old and it's difficult to imagine life without it. 14-year old Facebook analyzes your behavior to provide you with a catered online experience. Amazon was formed 23 years ago and Apple has been around since 1976. There aren't many people in the world unaware of the Big 4.

And how about a few game-changing squirts who have yet to reach the ripe age of 10? 8-year-old Uber is valued at $40-70 billion. I recently rented a cabin in Wisconsin using the 9-year-old $30-billion hotel industry disruptor Airbnb. And even though it was acquired in its 5th year of existence by Unilever in 2016 for a cool billion, I still use the Dollar Shave Club razors to keep my melon clean and shiny.

Those are the heavy hitters many of us know but there are many other innovative companies and start-ups that have been changing the way business is done around the world. Some are being formed right now as I'm typing and as you're reading. At the same time the old guard is being replaced or is shaking in its boots as jobs and trends of yesteryear are disappearing. 

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Posted by on in General


Words. Nothing.

Affection. Nothing.

Space. Nothing.

My daughter was very upset.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

dramatic play

I recently spoke with the new director of a “Religious Exempt” preschool that wanted to improve her school. It had been grossly neglected, both by the church in which it was housed, and by the former director. The current director had workers fix the holes in the walls, clean dirt from floors, and install a sink with running water for the toddler changing area. Yes, in Virginia, if your school is religiously exempt, you do not have to insist on washing hands after changing a diaper. It is fully up to the discretion of the director.

What impressed me was that this director, overseeing a staff of women who were not required to have training or experience in early childhood development, wanted to find a way to open a discussion about this question: What is play? I applaud her for this!

One would expect to need such a discussion in an unlicensed school. But these questions are good ones for everyone in education. There are schools that say they are play-based. They give children the opportunity to be children (a terrific start); to be with each other in play experiences both outside and in. Teachers watch them play, and intervene when there is conflict. Then the “curriculum” intervenes!  Themes are handed down from on high: farm animals; community helpers; life cycles; and “all about me”. Lessons are constructed. Crafts are implemented. And play takes a back seat to “learning.” These experiences are required, not optional. So play goes out of the window.

Dr. Peter Gray, in The Value of Play, defines play as “an expression of freedom”. It is intrinsically motivated and freely chosen. In a play situation among children, players choose, but they can also quit. My young friend at the water table with other children plays with materials we have provided: Tubing, funnels, CVC pipes, and turkey basters. Through daily experimentation of his choosing, he discovers that inverting the baster in the water, and connecting it to rubber tubing with a funnel at the top, creates a water pump. Pouring water into the funnel, then squeezing the baster, makes the water come out of the funnel like a geyser! He eventually stops playing in the water table. Being able to stop is part of play. If compelled to continue, according to Dr. Gray, play would cease to exist.

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Successful learning is less about what’s memorized and much more about having the ability to make the right connections.

But should teachers be the ones making all those connections for their students?

TED Prize winner Professor Sugata Mitra talks about creating a “Self-Organized Learning Environment” or SOLE. As he points out, it’s often called “learning on the edge of chaos” because it requires an educator to truly be the “Guide on the Side” rather than the “Sage on the Stage.” Sugata postulated: What would happen if we presented our students with goal-oriented challenges that allow them choice and provide opportunities to solve problems on their own? In a remote village in India, he placed a computer and track pad in a Hole in the Wall three feet above the ground to see what would happen.

What Sugata discovered, as he outlined in his 2013 TED prize-winnng talk, is that if children were allowed to work in groups to solve problems and had minimal supervision, there was no limit to their capacity to learn.

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Posted by on in Education Resources


Is this a sick joke?


Is this one of those Doctor shows in which a brilliant brain surgeon performs a miraculous brain procedure to save the life of another amazing MD main character and his love interest?

Not even.

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