Friday, February 25, 2011

The scaffolding of learning

Eva has a great post about teaching without a textbook over at the Education Virtually Anywhere (EVA) blog.  Now I might be be a bit biased (truth in advertising: Eva is Mrs. Advisory Bored), but I find it a really insightful view of learning in the information age.

I hope, however, that technology educators and IT managers will consider this post with more than just passing intellectual curiosity at the changing nature of post-secondary education.  I see in Eva's teaching methodology a model for long-term professional development and organizational transformation for IT professionals and their managers.  Let me explain.

An IT professional, particularly in a smaller, corporate IT shop, can no longer assume that his/her manager can define his/her job responsibilities, career path, training needs or long-term organizational strategy for his/her area of specialization without significant input from the professional him or herself.  This isn't the Dilbertesque dumbing down of IT management until they all resemble the PHB. Both the breadth and pace of technological change make it nearly impossible for a leader to dictate the work environment in a top-down, hierarchical fashion. 21st Century IT is not a 1960's assembly line.

Put simply, there is no longer room for IT workers, all staff must be IT professionals.  Professionals accept responsibility for their own training and development.  They identify and establish standards and practices for their area of responsibility. They remain abreast of the technology in their area of expertise and its impacts on the business, making recommendations to the IT manager. They build and maintain professional networks inside and outside the organization.

As the IT manager, it is my responsibility to create an environment for that to occur.  It seems to me that's what Eva is expressing when she says:
I make them do the work. I provide them with the framework or "scaffolding" of questions and problems to solve. They go looking for the answers and build their own library of resources along the way.
One hopes that along the way, Eva is also sharing with her student the method to her madness. The knowledge her students gain on any given project is fleeting, whereas the method by which the gained it will be valuable for years and decades to come.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 02/22/2011

  • Everett School Board will discuss a possible censure of board member Jessica Olson on Tuesday, February 22nd.  Olson's tenure has been marked by ongoing controversy with her interaction with the school district leadership and fellow board members.  She won her seat on a platform of more openness.

    Personal opinion here: After the past leadership of Everett schools, openness would be very welcome, but Olson has failed to move the objective forward.  It's nice that she fights all these battles, but maybe she should consider winning a one or two.  The real censure should come from voters who replace the ineffective Olson and the other secretive members of the board.  
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List

Michele Martin provides us with her thoughts of how school prepares students for more school, not "real" life. I couldn't agree more that we set an expectation of well-defined problems with single right answers. I wish I lived in that world.
The author draws an interesting analogy between testing driven education and fad diets. Even if we meet our goal, have we done so in a healthy manner that allows us to maintain that goal.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan highlighted the efforts of Granite High School's ShopGirls team at last years Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition. He used there performance as an example of strong career and technical education (CTE) programs.
In this post the author highlights the findings in Pathways to Prosperity report that questions the current "College for All" goal for education. Many jobs will require more than high school but less than a BA. Many students may not be well served by the current 4-year university system which does not prepare students for careers.

Questions and concerns are raised as whether college should just be about getting a job. REALITY CHECK: the only reason most people are going to college is to get ahead in their professional careers. This hand-wringing over creating "better, well-rounded people" is nonsense (that's my opinion, not necessarily the authors).
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List

No more teaching for Josh, he's going to guide and encourage the students in his classroom.
tags: AB teaching
Riffing on Guy Kawasaki post, Stephen Downes comes up with his own list of things you really need to learn, more than just to be successful in business.
tags: education learning lessons AB
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.