Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Virtual Choir

In a moving and madly viral 2010 video, composer Eric Whitacre led a virtual choir of singers from around the world. In this TED presentation he talks through the creative challenges of making music powered by YouTube, and unveils the first 2 minutes of his new work, "Sleep,"(2011) with a video choir of 2,052. In 2013 came Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise and here the numbers are astonishing: 8,409 video submissions from 101 countries, truly a global choir --- fascinating...
-- read on Huffington Post - TED weekends
-- read about the Virtual Youth Choir

Standing Up to Poverty

“The assumption is that schools can solve all of these problems on their own.”
-- Jeff Cole, Community Learning Center Network Lead, NCFF
Standing Up to Poverty is a documentary film produced by NET in partnership with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation which explores the impact of poverty on a child’s ability to learn, and the notion that schools need flexibility and community support to overcome this hurdle and pave the way for their students’ success. The film looks at the ramifications of living in poverty, and highlights some of the ways Nebraska schools are addressing this issue. But perhaps most important, the film encourages viewers to do their part, whether by volunteering time or resources, or by sharing this film to help generate awareness and support.
It is about Nebraska but really everyone can make an impact in a community - everywhere.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For

The world is facing huge challenges and they're growing daily in severity, in scale and in complexity. It's no exaggeration to say that they're not going to go away. Indeed they will get worse unless we can start to find solutions and find them soon. If we're going to survive we desperately need the next generations to be smarter, more adaptable and better prepared than any that have gone before. Our only chance is to improve the way we teach our young. To equip young people with the skills and attitudes that might steer this world of ours to a far safer place than at present looks likely. The question is... is that what our current education system does? What we have is a system that's shaped by historical forces, but they're now almost totally bankrupt as ideas for education of the 21st century and we're betraying most of our children. Public systems of education, paid for from taxation, were invented to meet the needs of the industrial economy that was emerging in the 18th and 19th centuries when we needed a workforce who can do those sorts of things. The high schools of today were essentially designed in the 19th century and they've reached their zenith in the 1950s. In the old days we said "one size fits all"... thirty kids, put them in a classroom, and then teach them the same material that they're all expected to get it the same way. There's tendency to look backwards. There was a golden age of education but schools became steeped in history and the past, in static knowledge, and failed to capture the "here and now" and often failed to prepare young people for contemporary society, for the realities of the world in which we're living. And even more significantly they failed to prepare young people for the emerging issues of our time.
We Are The People We’ve Been Waiting For is a 75-minute documentary feature which examines the worldwide crisis in modern education. It observes how millions of young people are essentially being failed by the system and explores alternative ways of tapping into the reservoirs of talent that exist in the generation that will inherit the very complex world we have created. The documentary is anchored around five young Britons in their final year of formal education. They come from Swindon, considered to be the microcosm of British life in the 21st Century. Here they have all had the same educational opportunities – indeed, they could easily have attended one another’s schools – and yet, even the most successful student exposes the depth of the systemic failure in education. Through their experiences and comment, paralleled with the views of young people from all over the world, we observe the depth of the issues associated with education and the challenge associated with effecting change.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why Art is Important to High School Students

The author of this video (Christopher Sykora) sat down with some high school students and asked them why art was important to their education. Their answers illustrate the vital academic role that art education serves in the development of all forms of intelligence and social awareness. In some cases, students spoke about their artistic processes which delivers a small glimpse of the cognitive stimulation art education offers to those lucky enough to have art in their school.
Very nice.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Teaching Success

Teaching Success is a feature documentary film investigating the teachable skills that lead to future success for students of all ages. With groundbreaking tools and compelling stories, the film aims at inspiring a nationwide revolution in education benefiting teachers, school leaders, students, and the general public alike. Teaching Success is produced by Schools That Can (STC), a nonprofit network committed to growing seats of quality in urban education. The STC network consists of 121 high performing and high potential schools across education sectors nationwide.

Success Starts with Teachers

On any given day, teachers make thousands of decisions, facilitate at least a dozen different lessons and connect with students on various levels. Often times, the most successful schools have the right supports in place to help its teachers continue to learn and grow so that they can ensure students do the same...For teachers in high-poverty schools however, there are growing pressures and a unique set of daily challenges that make the task of teaching become more than simply classroom learning. With input from administrators and teachers, this film explores what the field of teaching looks like today and how schools equip teachers to teach under-resourced learners, understand diverse student needs and pave the road to success for all Nebraska’s students. The stories from this film let educators share their experiences to explain our evolving state of education and most importantly, urge viewers to consider the question: what’s the value of a great teacher?
"Success Starts with Teachers" is the latest 30-min documentary from NelovesPS.
-- Click on image below to watch FULL documentary

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The IMAGINE Project

20 November 2014 marks an important date on the global calendar: the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – the most widely ratified legal agreement to protect child rights. To mark this day and generate much needed awareness and funds, UNICEF is embarking on The #IMAGINE Project – one of the world’s largest-ever combined music recordings, to one of the world’s most loved songs, John Lennon’s Imagine.
Through a new App, music artists, celebrity influencers including athletes and actors, and people around the world will be able to record their contribution (vocals and video) which will be mixed together to create a million voices ‘world’ version of the song Imagine, produced by David Guetta for UNICEF, in support of children around the world.
-- click here to visit Imagine Project website
-- read on Mail Online

Helping children succeed

Paul Tough is the author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character and Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a speaker on various topics including education, poverty, parenting, and politics.
In "How children succeed" he argues that character skills like determination and optimism is more important than raising test scores.
-- If you can't view video below try here
-- Listen to public-radio program “This American Life” on “How Children Succeed”
-- Watch interview with Paul on youtube

True Grit: Teaching Persistence and Resiliance

Monday, November 17, 2014

It Takes a Community

“The traditional function of a school is to provide academic and social growth. We understand that kids will be sent to us every day and we will teach them. That’s our traditional model. Students will come; I will impart knowledge, the end. We know that’s not going to create the students that we need. Instead, what schools need to be able to do is to develop well-rounded, diverse, creative thinkers. It’s a big task and it’s not a task that schools can do on their own.” 
-- Luisa Palomo Teacher, Liberty Elementary
There are many different factors that go into the education of a child. There’s classroom learning time, extracurriculars, health and nutrition, other basic needs, socio-emotional wellness, and extended educational opportunities outside of school, among others. Traditional models would suggest that schools are solely responsible for student learning: students come into the school classroom, learn new material from the teacher, then go home. However, schools recognize that this simplified process is no longer adequate to fully educate and develop well-rounded and engaged young citizens, especially for students coming from backgrounds of poverty. Although there is no silver bullet when it comes to solving the achievement gap, a good place to start is ensuring that all students have equal access to supplemental learning opportunities in order to reach their full academic growth and development. But schools can’t do it alone. Education must become an inclusive process in which each member of the community has an important role in contributing to opportunity equality so that each child has a chance to succeed in academics and in life.
"It Takes a Community" is a documentary on how business, nonprofit and mentoring organizations work together to support Nebraska public schools.
 -- Watch entire documentary here (by NelovesPS)

The Whole Child

"Children come to us with more than just their math book or their science book in their backpacks. And we know that it doesn't matter how great a curriculum you have, how great a teacher there is, or how great a mentor that you have. You can pour all the tutoring hours you want into this child, but if it's a child that’s facing violence, or is depressed, or is hungry, there's nothing that can address that issue other than taking care of that basic need first, because they are just not going to be ready to learn." -- Julane Hill Director of School Health, Nebraska Department of Education
From proper nutrition and physical fitness to accounting for the socio-emotional growth of students and the well-being of teachers, school-based health initiatives have empowered academic achievement and enhanced students' ability to learn. "The Whole Child" showcases exactly what schools are doing to prepare students to be focused and fit for the classroom and for life. By taking care of the whole child inside the classroom, Heartland schools illustrate the responsibility schools have to their students and the need for a safe and supportive learning environment.
-- Watch entire documentary here (by NelovesPS)

One Child at a Time

“It’s no longer just your reading, writing, arithmetic; there’s this whole social piece. How do you get involved with students in their lives [to] make sure that they have the kind of supports they need to be successful young people? I don’t know if the larger public really understands how big of a job public education really is, because it more than just academics.”
-- Nick Dressel Principal, Chadron Middle School
"One Child at a Time" the 30-minute documentary film on individualized learning explores how schools identify unique learning needs and support each student to enhance their success. From gifted learning to special education, alternative learning to ELL, individualized teaching practices impact all students throughout their school experience – no matter where they fall on the spectrum of ability.
-- Watch entire documentary here (by NelovesPS)

The key to success? Grit

"Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint." Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

The Landfillharmonic

While working as an ecological technician at the Cateura Landfill, the largest garbage dump of Paraguay’s capital Asunción, Favio Chávez got to know and befriended some of the 2,500 impoverished families who lived at the garbage dump working as recyclers. Witnessing the rampant illiteracy, extreme poverty, pollution and surrounding culture of drugs and gangs, Chávez became acutely aware that the children needed something positive in their lives – something to keep them out of the landfill and striving for something more. Favio, having previously been a music teacher, decided to share his love of music with the children, and he began teaching music lessons using the handful of personal instruments he owned. He quickly realized there weren’t enough instruments for all the eager students wanting to learn. With help from one of the trash pickers, he started experimenting with making instruments with the given resources. Using scraps of dirty oilcans, jars, wood, forks and other junk in the Cateura landfill, the instruments began to take shape and become finely tuned musical instruments - violins, flutes, cellos, drums…all made from trash. From this ingenuity, the “Recycled Orchestra” was formed with the local children as its members learning and performing Bach, Mozart and Beethoven (read on Go Campaign)
-- read on People
-- watch trailer of Landfillharmonic

Occupy Kindergarten

Kurt Schwengel has been teaching Kindergarten in Santa Monica, Ca since 1995. He is also a national presenter for a variety of topics ranging from technology to creative teaching. He is an "NBC Crystal Apple" winner, eHow education expert, Google Certified Teacher and SMUSD "Teacher of the Year". His Ted Talk "Occupy Kindergarten" has reached thousands of teachers across the country. In 1995, Kurt created his original Kindergarten curriculum, "Rock and Roll Kindergarten" and has traveled to almost every state in the country introducing his curriculum to over 20,000 teachers. In 2011 he began his grassroots movement "Occupy Kindergarten" in an effort to "bring the fun back to Kindergarten".
Fun talk, something to think about...

Friday, November 14, 2014

21st century learners

Patrick Newell interviews Arthur Costa for the 21Foundation, at the 14th International Conference on Thinking (14th ICOT) in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June, 2009. Arthur Costa was Emeritus Professor at California State University, and is Author of “Habits of Mind”. Drawing on his substantial experience as an educator, Costa speaks about self-evaluation, the construction of meaning and preparing for the 21st century.

Arthur Costa Interview from 21 Foundation on Vimeo.

21:21 is a documentary film produced by 21 Foundation to highlight the urgent need for the adoption of 21st century learning methods. In the film, which was shot in schools in 9 countries, Learning Activist and 21 Foundation founder Patrick Newell demonstrates the problems with traditional teaching techniques, before introducing some of the fundamental elements of 21st century leaning - and demonstrating the positive effect that they have upon learners from all backgrounds.
We posted this some time ago - worth watching if you have not already done it.

21:21 from 21 Foundation on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

YOLA Neighborhood Project

"The orchestra is a perfect metaphor for the community."Gustavo Dudamel
Through Gustavo Dudamel's Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) program – inspired by Venezuela's revolutionary El Sistema – the LA Phil and its community partners provide free instruments, intensive music training, and academic support to over 700 students from underserved neighborhoods, empowering them to become vital citizens, leaders, and agents of change.
The YOLA Neighborhood Project (YNP) aims to build healthy communities through universal access to music. In South L.A. and the Rampart District, school-day residencies inspire local students to join YOLA; local parent ensembles provide families with the opportunity to learn music; and LA Phil neighborhood concerts allow the community at large to experience one of the world's greatest orchestras in their own backyard. Each year, YNP culminates in a joint performance of over 1,000 children from partner schools and YOLA – demonstrating the immense power and joy of musical collaboration.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Encourage Creativity: Teach the Arts

Using their own words, three ordinary children with an extraordinary commitment demonstrate the power of art in their everyday lives. Ian (10 yrs old) suffers attention and learning challenges so he uses art to quell anxiety before gymnastics competitions and focus before big tests. Jordyn (8 yrs old) used dance and music to put an end to being bullied at school, make new friends, and deal with the feelings that come with growing up. Andrew (14 yrs old) is home-schooled, a Tae Kwon Do black belt, and has a composer fellowship with LA Philharmonic. Various educators discuss the profound impact the arts have on young people, from engagement to graduation, and employment to self-expression.
This is just great.

Why value music education

"What we lose most when we debilitate music education is the chance to create through music. Because music education does more than just train artists, it gives students exposure to the creative processes inherent to the arts, and human creativity is a valuable economic resource"
Joel Ostdiek, a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, explores the power of music as a universal language. When he was teaching children in Uganda, music allowed him to navigate a country in which he had no prior experience and, from day one, to connect to the new people he met. Rather than highlighting the differences between people, sharing music allowed him to be find common ground with others because music is a language we can all understand.
Excellent presentation.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

What if every child had access to music education from birth?

Anita Collins shares how learning music influences our brain development, and what this means for musical education. She was handed a clarinet at the age of 9, and it changed her life. This single event dictated her future career as a musician, music educator and academic.
Anita is currently Assistant Professor of Music and Arts Education at the University of Canberra and has been a Visiting Lecturer at the Australian National University.
-- watch "How playing an instrument benefits your brain" on TEDEd
-- read "Music improves young minds" on The Canberra Times

Importance of music education

As a member of Ringo's All-Starr Band, Richard Page shares his thoughts on music and the important role his parents played and his early music education.
Kasim Sulton is perhaps best known for being a long time member of Utopia, still performing with Todd Rundgren. As a solo artist his newest, "3", is released on 10/25/14. The list of artists that Kasim has performed and/or recorded with is extensive. He has made his life about music and the Spirit of Harmony was honored to have him discuss his feelings about the importance of music education.
The Spirit of Harmony Foundation (SOHF) is musician Todd Rundgren's philanthropic organization to support music education and music performance for young people. Through fundraising, special events, mentoring, advocacy, social entrepreneurship, and strategic partnerships, the Foundation works to promote the cultural, academic, social, and personal benefits of music.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Future Learning

Students are the future, but what's the future for students? To arm them with the relevant, timeless skills for our rapidly changing world, we need to revolutionize what it means to learn. Education innovators like Dr. Sugata Mitra, visiting professor at MIT; Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy; and Dr. Catherine Lucey, Vice Dean of Education at UCSF, are redefining how we engage young minds for a creatively and technologically-advanced future.

Kids and Music - What a Wonderful World

Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. The idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.

Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age

“Education needs to be more than about making a living, but about making a life.” 

MIT Prof. Mitchel Resnick talks about ways to transform education, the Lego Mindstorms, and the idea of constructionist learning.
Resnick and his Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT believe that through play, children develop and refine their imagination, curiosity and creativity. His work – including the development of Scratch, LEGO Mindstorms, and the Computer Clubhouse network – is based on the idea that as children playfully explore and experiment, they develop new ideas and new ways of thinking about the world around them.
-- read on Daily Adventures by A. Salcito

Check out ScratchJr: Coding for Young Kids - project funded via Kickstarter

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Race to Nowhere

"Race to Nowhere" is a 2010 film that calls us to challenge current thinking about how we prepare our children for success. Named by as one of “10 Education Documentaries You Don’t Want to Miss”, “Race to Nowhere” brings communities together to spark dialogue and galvanize change in America’s schools. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of students across the country who have been pushed to the brink by over-scheduling, over-testing and the relentless pressure to achieve, “Race to Nowhere” points to a silent epidemic in US schools. Through the testimony of educators, parents and education experts, it reveals an education system in which cheating has become commonplace; students have become disengaged; stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant; and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.
-- other documentary films focused on Education Reform on Edutopia