Sunday, 22 March 2009
I first look at the pictures on a school-website. First impression is always dominant in further reasoning. Spinoza considers intuition being the highest order in thinking, above logic. Spinoza's intuition is somewhat different to our present connotation, but still. Currrambena has an appealing philosophy and makes an effort to offer something different in the educational system. What more evidence do you need?
Saturday, 21 March 2009
They started in 1982, so The Village School is well established in Melbourne, Australia. Between 55 and 80 children attend the school each year, guided by 5 permanent teachers, a part-time language teacher, an equestrian instructor (riding horses!!) and various coaches, mentors and parents sharing their specialist skills with the students. On of their principles is learning by making mistakes. They 'encourage children to take risks in a non-threatening, caring environment in order to develop realistic, problem-solving skills.' and also ' that some common sense rules are necessary to ensure physical and emotional safety.' Read it all in their philosophy - document on line. Must be in the air down under!! In the same city another alternative school, Fitzroy Community School. Some international connections in Asia too.
The Alternative School (aka TAS) ' was set up in May 2007 to offer a new and exciting alternative KS4 curriculum (age 14 to 19) for all those young people who are not engaging with main stream education.' It is not clear what status this initiative has or how many young people participate. They all strive to get a Duke of Edingburgh Award, which also gives them discounts on outdoor equipment. They ' strive to engage young people in a wide range of positive activities and to develop them as young adults, at a pace that is suited to that young person and with subjects and experiences that means they are interested and therefore willing to partake.' An interesting and innovative approach. Too early to call it a success, however. They maintain a blog that shows a professional video on the project.
The SVS was founded in 1968 and at the moment there are 39 schools or initiatives on 2 continents that are listed as Sudbury - education schools. They must do something right.
Students are fully responsible for their own learning. In practice this means that students initiate all their own activities and create their own environments. The physical plant, the staff, and the equipment are there for the students to use as the need arises. The Netherlands hosts 2 Sudbury Schools and there are a number of initiatives that are very similar in approach and pedagogy, but find it difficult to survive. The existence of an international community around this initiative and the solid mission statement might explain its success. And the use of villa's like the one pictured of course.
Cut a hole in the wall that separates you from the slums around you. Mount an interactive computerscreen, make some adjustments on the other side for a keyboard and make sure its weather resistent. Then WAIT!! It didn't take long before children, that very likely never touched a computer before found out how it worked and started playing with it, teaching each other. Sugata Mitra did and he didn't stop there. You can read all about it from the website they also made. A beautiful initiative, got me by the ankles, anyway.
The San Fernando Education Technology Team, better known as SFETT, is an exceptional team of creative and talented individuals who continuously strive to engage and captivate students while providing them an avenue of expression through the use of digital media. That is what they say themselves, have a look at their productions to decide for yourself if this initiative has got some potential. They also created a blog called Flickschool with ideas that helped them over the years.
School is out!! Is it really? If we look around we see schools, much alike those I visited. Not bad schools, certainly not, but what if your finished with it and still have to go. To some of these youngsters Notschool is an answer. It provides tuition, in a way that it helps them in their learning path, without the school - agenda. Numbers are small compared to the system, but they proved themselves already. In my country there is a similar project using the same paradigm. NotSchool makes me ask why the educational system itsself does not succeed in serving this type of children.
I visited Wondertree in 1995 and met Brent Cameron, the founding father of an initiative that celebrates its 25th year of existence this year. I stayed in an old villa, in the centre of Vancouver, crowded with teenagers, eager to learn, much less eager to go to school. They went out for payed work as entrepreneurs, were asked on conferences to show the latest developments of Adobe apps. A vibrant community guided by 'experts'. Nobody even dared to call them teachers, as these kids 'designed themselves. The image is the non-verbal icon of their learning path. Visit them here.
Are you an active pirat? If so rush to 826 Valencia to obtain all you need to become the best equiped and best dressed pirat in the 21st Century. Another reason to go might be that you are somebody who needs some professional assistance on your writing. The place is one of the finest under - cover remedial 'teaching units' I have ever heard of. Find more yourself, you rascal, here! No doubt you will be able to find the other, more or less similar shops in the US yourself!
Monday, 16 March 2009
Does this look like a school to you? It probably does not. And they do not intend to either! It is Kaospilot, a thrilling and succesful initiative in Aarhus sometime ago already. There is a location in my country too. It is all about learning and new ways to do so. The first core principle is playfulness! Read more about other principles on their pages, but start here. Lots of people talk about 21st century learning. They make serious business of it. I would love to see them start using 3d virtual worlds to work in, as you can imagine.
Every now and then somebody makes something that really pleases me. I am very fond of using mindmaps, as it helps me to think: it helps me to order my thoughts, to communicate them, to organize my file resources and its a joy to continuously improve them. There is always a way to make 'm better. Almost perfect, this Mindmeister map Robin Good made on online collaborative tools. Its rich, its balanced, it looks strong and its incomplete. But Robin makes an effort to keep ahead of all those new tools that are developed now, at this moment, everywhere.... and the Chinese haven't even started yet. You 'll find it here
Posted by Joop van Schie at 10:58