Saturday, January 31, 2015

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 tries to answer some big questions such as: What's the value of a great teacher? What does the field of teaching look like today? How are schools equipping teachers to teach under-resourced learners? How are they prepared to understand diverse student needs?
This film was produced as part of a series of documentaries by "Nebraska loves public schools", a campaign dedicated to tackling the issues that face students and public schools in Nebraska and around the country. Although specific to Nebraska, we believe as they do that these films serve as a resource to educate and to inspire action.
-- watch full movie here

Friday, January 30, 2015

The World Becomes What You Teach

"We need a bigger vision for the purpose of schooling and I believe that it should be this: that we provide every student with the knowledge, the tools and the motivation to be conscientious choice makers and engaged change makers for a restored, healthy and humane world for all...or another way of putting it: I believe that we need to graduate a generation od solutionaries"
Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement, which provides people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a better world. Zoe created the first Master of Education and Certificate Program in Humane Education in the U.S. covering the interconnected issues of human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection. Brilliant talk, must watch.
-- watch Zoe's 2012 TED talk - Solutionaries

We Teach Life, Sir

Gaza may be a warzone, but everyday life for its inhabitants has to continue. For some of those growing up in the violence, playing music has become an important source of relief. RTD (global news channel broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios) has gone to Gaza City to follow music school students as they prepare for an end of year performance. Their experiences of war unite them as much as their love of music. They have survived the destruction, endured the horror of shelling and seen people die at first hand. Some have even come close to death themselves. Powerless in the face of such violence, they remain hopeful that peace will eventually come. Until then, they seek comfort in music. 
Heartbreaking and uplifting.
-- watch FULL DOCUMENTARY here

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Teachers Are Like Gardeners

"Nobody else can make anybody else learn anything. You cannot make them. Anymore than if you are a gardener you can make flowers grow, you don’t make the flowers grow. You don’t sit there and stick the petals on and put the leaves on and paint it. You don’t so that. The flower grows itself. Your job if you are any good at it is to provide the optimum conditions for it to do that, to allow it to grow itself." -- Sir Ken Robinson
The quality of education can never exceed the quality of teachers.


In a heart-melting moment, TED Talks Education host John Legend sits at the piano to sing "True Colors," giving the lyrics a special meaning for kids and teachers. "So don't be afraid / to let them show / your true colors / are beautiful, like a rainbow."

Singer and songwriter John Legend works to break the cycle of poverty through the Show Me Campaign, dedicated to education for all. In particular this campaign aims at supporting programs that help to provide every child with a quality education, spreading awareness about the issues, and inspiring citizens to take action.

Great teaching matters

Watch these wonderful videos and get inspired!
-- by TEACH | TakePart


We all have had a teacher who's shaped us, inspired us, even scared us, and whom we can credit with having empowered us to become who we are today. "TEACH" is a 2013 documentary by Davis Guggenheim that looks at education in America  and asks the question: what does it take to be a teacher? Offering a rare glimpse inside four public school classrooms, Guggenheim invites us to follow the struggles and triumphs of America's education system through the eyes, minds and hearts of its most essential resource: teachers.
-- go to TEACH Facebook page
-- read "The Director of ‘TEACH’ Takes Us Into the Heart of His Documentary" on TakePart

Thank a Teacher

"I learnt that you can approach knowledge with a sense of wonder and fun" - Juliette Lewis
Great teachers shape who we are today.
-- go to TEACH | TakePart

Music for social innovation

Stanford Thompson speaks about the importance of after school programs and how music serves as a vehicle for social change. Stanford is a musician and educator who is passionate about using music for social action and serves as the Founder and Artistic Director for another El Sistema-inspired program, Play On, Philly! and the Chairman of El Sistema USA. He also serves on the boards of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum, and as Chairman of The Curtis Institute of Music Alumni Council. He regularly contributes to the communities of TED, League of American Orchestras, and El Sistema-inspired initiatives around the world. For El Sistema inspired programs he has implemented, Stanford has secured over $4 million in funding which has impacted the lives of hundreds of children in Philadelphia. This is great.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The dangers of standardized testing

"The assessment itself is completely artificial....It’s not ranking teachers in accordance with their ability to help develop children who will reach their potential . . . It’s turning us into individuals who devote our lives to achieving a rank."
"Education is developing your own potential and creativity"
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and anarcho-syndicalist activist. Sometimes described as the "father of modern linguistics", he is also a major figure in analytic philosophy. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 poll.

What standardized tests don't measure

"Many politicians and policy makers and any adult has said "we want our students to be the leaders of tomorrow" but how about making them the present leaders, the leaders of today? And the only way you are going to do that is by investing in the present. And if you are to invest into the present you can rest assured that the future will take care of itself"
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Alarmingly, 44% of American students in grades 6-12 do not feel a sense of self-worth at school. Philadelphia high school junior Nikki Adeli knows firsthand the challenges that young people face navigating standardized tests. Through the story of her own real-world educational experiences beginning in Mississippi by way of Iran, Nikki reminds us all that the value and purpose of schools is to grow a citizen not produce a good test-taker. As a Youth Commissioner to Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Nikki represents the city’s youth in public hearing and gives testimony that reflects the youth perspective. She works with the City, non-profits, community organizations and private entities to develop strategies to improve educational opportunities for Philadelphia’s youth.
Great talk.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The War on Kids

Blame for problems with schooling in America is often assigned to insufficient funding or the inherent failings of today’s kids. In rare cases, parents, teachers, and administrators are also implicated. However, all efforts to improve the quality of education are doomed to fail if the system itself is not examined and understood to be the most significant impediment. After over six years in the making, THE WAR ON KIDS reveals that the problems with public education ultimately stem from the institution itself....
You/we may not agree on all but something to think about...
-- watch full documentary on youtube
-- read review by Jonathan Kim and watch his interview on the Young Turks here

I may not...

Saint James Music Academy is the story of one person’s determination to give children a better chance in life. When cuts to public school funding during the last economic recession meant that Vancouver’s inner-city children had limited or no access to quality music education, long-time Downtown Eastside area resident Kathryn Walker decided to do something about it. She began a two-year process of building alliances and support in the community for a music academy that would not only teach music but use music as a means of reversing the negative social forces that neighbourhood children commonly face. SJMA opened its doors in September, 2007 with 45 enrollments and a budget of $37,000. Since then, the Academy has grown rapidly each year, touching the lives of many hundreds of children. Today there are 180 children in the core after-school programs and another 250 children in outreach programs. SJMA believes in social transformation through the power and love of music and is also Canada’s first ever El Sistema inspired program.
Watch this great promo clip meant to promote what music is really about - encouraging students to be amazing people in their families and communities.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Educating for the Unknown

David Perkins is a founding member of Harvard Project Zero, a basic research project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education investigating human symbolic capacities and their development. Perkins conducts research on creativity in the arts and sciences, informal reasoning, problem solving, understanding, individual and organizational learning, and the teaching of thinking skills.

Why Thinking matters in schools

"If we aren't thinking we aren't learning"
Ron Ritchhart, researcher at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, shares his thoughts on the importance of creating a culture of thinking in classrooms and schools. Ron's research focuses on understanding how to develop, nurture, and sustain thoughtful learning environments for both students and teachers.
-- visit Stories of Learning website

Engaging Students in Conversations That Matter

"There will be times when I won't have the answers and that's ok. What matters is me staying present in the moment to help them form their questions and draw those deep connections"
Believing that "being an inspiration to children is the most progressive political act of all," Jenelle Peterson has taught in classrooms as diverse as Compton and Maui. She attended the New School for Social Research in New York City, receiving both a masters of science in teaching and a certification in secondary education. Janelle currently teaches fourth-grade social studies at Maui Preparatory Academy. Great talk.
-- read about See-Think- Wonder by Harvard Project Zero
-- go to Visible Thinking website

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Music heals and connects

Roberto Granados is a home-schooled thirteen-year-old classical, flamenco, rock, blues guitarist, arranger, composer and ukulele virtuoso from Hayward, California. He began studying classical guitar at the age of six with Gyorgy Vass, and flamenco guitar at eight with renowned flamenco guitarist Jason McGuire. He has since also studied with distinguished guitarists Sergio Assad and Marc Teicholz at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Roberto has performed everywhere from on the streets to the Emmy's and also in the presence of President Obama. Beautiful little human being, very nice listening to him play and talk.

Roberto Granados: Music Heals and Connects... from TEDxSanJoseCA on Vimeo.

It Don’t Mean A Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing

We talked about them when we started this blog...let's see what they are up to.
A Film About Kids and Music is a project arising from a music class. Conducted by Joan Chamorro, a professional musician and teacher with over 20 years of experience, Sant Andreu Jazz Band brings together children between 6 and 18 years old, around a classic jazz repertoire with lots of swing, which gained the public and sold-out some of the most important music auditoriums in Spain.
-- follow them on youtube

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Real Life. My Music

“Live for yourself and you will live in vain; Live for others, and you will live again.”
― Bob Marley
Founded in 2009, Real Life. My Music. aims at creating a safer and healthier Detroit for school children by providing them access to quality afterschool programming that emphasizes structured training in fine arts; specifically music and dance. By offering students an artistic outlet in which to express themselves and by supporting their interest in pursuing fine arts programs if they choose to do so, it is their belief that they will not only learn an art form, but also develop positive characteristics and skills that are proven to be correlated with the improvement of academic and personal outcomes.

Friday, January 23, 2015

People Loving People

"You can pawn it off on kings and queens and those behind the curtain
Say what can make a difference in a world so full of hurting
But I believe the remedy starts right here with you and me
People loving people
That's the enemy of everything's that's evil"
"People Loving People" by Garth Brooks performed by PS22 Choir.
-- read on USA today

Music changes lives

Filmed over the course of a school year, Music Changes Lives follows the progress of two Dublin schools - St. Agnes's in Crumlin, and St. Ultan's in Cherry Orchard, both of which have taken inspiration from the Venezuelan project El Sistema and are providing compulsory music tuition for all children in the schools. The results are astounding. Music Changes Lives is a groundbreaking four part observational documentary series about the power of music as an 'intervention' tool for positive change, extraordinary personal stories show how the simple act of learning to play an instrument can give children, who have no other real chance in life, a fresh start and a brighter future.

Let the Children Play

"Physical poverty is overcome by the spiritual richness that music provides."José Antonio Abreu 
During "Discovery Day: El Sistema" on December 8, 2012 Carnegie Hall explores Venezuela's spectacularly successful El Sistema educational program and its influence on educational thinking in the United States. El Sistema—Venezuela's national system of youth orchestras—is a state-funded organization that was created in 1975 by Venezuelan maestro José Antonio Abreu. The goal of El Sistema is to systemize music education, and promote the collective practice of music through symphony orchestras and choruses as a means of social organization and community development. El Sistema has become the most comprehensive social-responsibility program ever developed in Venezuela and has made an unparalleled impact worldwide.
-- Watch "Dudamel: Let the children play" - Official Trailer

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Follow the Leader

"That’s not that much more I need to say, just that you’ll be red tomorrow and let me be green today. And we can change the world either way as long as we’re unafraid to make mistakes and keen to play. And then you can see as long as we stop looking for others to lead the way that creating a better world it’s a piece of cake. We don’t need leaders we need ideas".
Suli Breaks is one the UK's leading spoken word poets who captivates audiences and peers alike with his phenomenal wordplay. This piece was especially created for TEDxHousesofParliament 2014 to close the show.
-- read transcripts

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Connected Learning

Connected Learning is an educational approach designed for our ever-changing world. It makes learning relevant to all populations, to real life and real work, and to the realities of the digital age, where the demand for learning never stops. Filmmaker Nic Askew has been commissioned to make a series of films about connected learning, an approach to learning designed for our times. In this six-part short film series he speaks to that need for a connected learning vision: learning that is powerful, relevant, and engaging.
-- watch whole film series HERE (scroll down page)

Connected Learning: Interest, Peer Culture, Academics from Connected Learning Alliance on Vimeo.

Connected Learning: Playing, Creating, Making from Connected Learning Alliance on Vimeo.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Connected Learning, Children, and Digital Media

Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist of technology use, examining children and youth’s changing relationships to media and communications and is Professor in Residence and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine, with appointments in the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the Department of Anthropology, and the Department of Informatics.
-- Mimi Ito's blog

Project Zero and more

Project Zero is an educational research group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education composed of multiple, independently-sponsored research projects. Since 1967, Project Zero has examined the development of learning processes in children, adults, and organizations. Today, Project Zero’s work includes investigations into the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, ethics, and other essential aspects of human learning. Their mission is to understand and enhance high-level thinking and learning across disciplines and cultures and in a range of contexts, including schools, businesses, museums, and digital environments.
Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds positions as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.
-- PZ on youtube
-- Prof Howard Gardner on The Multiple Intelligence Theory
-- Visit MI Oasis (Official Authoritative Site of Multiple IntelligenceS)

whatIsPZ? from Sue Borchardt on Vimeo.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Art Walk - St Georges

The Art Walk in St. Georges is a free event offering the opportunity to chat with local artists, explore the town of St. Georges and learn more about what the art scene has to offer on the island. The main idea is to promote Bermuda art in all its forms, providing an avenue for local artists to showcase their talent.
--- February 27, 2015 @ 5:00 pm (go to Facebook event page)
Please also join artist Dani Pen in a Public Art Intervention piece in support of Arts Education
Look at the amazing LINEUP of artists participating and supporting the event!!!

Great footage below by Lara D. Smith, Founder/ Creative Director of LDS Multimedia: A Bermuda based video production company.

November Art Walk In the East from Lara D. Smith on Vimeo.

Summer Art Walk 2013 from Lara D. Smith on Vimeo.

Art Walk, 2012 from Lara D. Smith on Vimeo.

Equal opportunities for all

"System excellence in education requires that the entire society performs harmoniously"

More on the Finland model of education - everybody should watch.
Providing equal opportunities for all citizens to high-quality education and training is a long-term objective of the Finnish education policy. The key words in Finnish education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internationalisation. The basic right to education and culture is recorded in the Constitution. The policy is built on the principles of lifelong learning and free education. Education is seen as a key to competitiveness and wellbeing of the society (Education policy - Finnish National Board of Education).
-- read "Why Are Finland's Schools Successful?"
-- read "What we can learn from Finland’s successful school reform"
-- read "Happy Teaching, Happy Learning"
-- read "What the best education systems are doing right"

Pasi Sahlberg is Finnish educator, author and scholar. He has worked as schoolteacher, teacher educator, researcher and policy advisor in Finland and has studied education systems and reforms around the world. His book “Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?” (2011) won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award and he received the 2012 Education Award in Finland and 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

This Will Revolutionize Education...

Many technologies have promised to revolutionize education, but so far none has. With that in mind, what could revolutionize education? Will video revolutionize education? Are teachers obsolete?
Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Independent Thinking Comes Through Discovery

"It doesn't matter what we cover, it matter what you discover"
Interesting interview with Professor Noam Chomsky on the importance of interaction and participation in the classroom, the urgent need to address funding, the role of modern technology to improve access to education and what more needs to be done to build the future of education.

Monday, January 12, 2015

New ideas in higher education - Ecole 42

42 is a private French computer programming school created and funded by Xavier Niel (Founder of Illiad) with several partners including Nicolas Sadirac (previous General Director of Epitech), Kwame Yamgnane and Florian Bucher (previous executives of Epitech). The training is inspired by new modern ways to teach which include; peer-to-peer pedagogy. Students will not receive any official engineer's degree. The school is known to bet on advanced knowledge and skill in computer programming and novel ways of thinking. 42’s name is a reference to the book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy created by Douglas Adams: 42 is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (from wikipedia)
-- read on VB News
-- read on bonjourlafrenchtech

Future Learning

We posted this already - please watch if you have not done it yet.
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. Which of these eduvators holds the key for unlocking the learning potential inside every student?

Bringing Innovation into the Classroom

In Warren High School in Chicago, teachers are flipping their classrooms and both students and parents acknowledge that the outcomes are very positive. Flipping the classroom means that students watch lessons at home through online platforms which enable them to learn at their own pace, and arrive to school ready to apply the theory to practical work and share doubts with the teacher and peers. As one teacher says: “It allows students to become teachers and to be accountable for their own education - hoping, asking questions, leading the discussions”.
-- read more HERE

In the TED Talk below, Salman Khan (founder and faculty of the Khan Academy) demonstrates the power of interactive exercises and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script.

Aaron Sams is a Flipped Learning Pioneer. See below how students watch podcasts of their teacher's lectures on their own time and then spend their time in the classroom applying what they learned at home.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New teaching methods

When a report emerged in September 2012 that a girl from one of Matamoros’ poorest neighborhoods had attained the highest math score in Mexico, some doubted its veracity...But it wasn’t fake. Her name is Paloma Noyola, and what most reports failed to mention is that almost all of her classmates also scored very high on the national math test. 10 scored in the 99.99% percentile...
[Read all HERE]
The high test scores turned out to be the work of a young teacher who also came from humble beginnings. Sergio Juárez Correa was tired of the monotony of teaching out of a book and wanted to try something new to help engage his students when he came across the work of Sugata Mitra, a UK university professor who had innovated a new pedagogy he called SOLE, or self organized learning environments. So he took on the brave fight against school dropout rates in an impoverished public school in Mexico and revolutionized teaching methods, leading an entire class to success.
-- How to Get Involved in the Teaching Movement That Could Transform Education
-- How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses
-- Watch Sugata Mitra's "The child-driven education"
-- Watch Sugata Mitra's "New experiments in self-teaching"
-- Watch Sugata Mitra's "Build a School in the Cloud"

Friday, January 09, 2015

Do Schools Ignore Talents?

Sir Ken Robinson's conferences at TED have more than 25 million of views and he is considered one of today's most prominent voices in the world of education. Learning World is a series of weekly TV programs on education developed in the framework of a partnership between WISE and EuronewsLearning World producer, Aurora Vélez, met Sir Ken Robinson in Paris to talk about talent, innovation and educational challenges as part of Learning World on "XXI Century Education".

The arts develop our humanity

Dr. Anton Armstrong, is the Director of the St. Olaf Choir and worked with several Utah choirs in April of 2014 during a week long residency in the state. In this interview Dr. Armstrong shares the importance of music education and why organizations like Legacy Music Alliance are invaluable to communities.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Finding inspiration

"There is a symbiotic and intrinsic link between storytelling and community, between community and art, between community and science and technology, between community and economics. It's my belief that an abstract economic theory that denies the needs of a community or denies the contributions that communities make to economy is short-sighted, cruel and untenable. The fact is whether you are a rockstar, or a welder in the shipyard, or a tribesman in the upper Amazon, or the Queen of England, we are all in the same boat".

Sting's early life was dominated by a shipyard—and he dreamed of nothing more than escaping the industrial drudgery. But after a nasty bout of writer's block that stretched on for years, Sting found himself channeling the stories of the shipyard workers he knew in his youth for song material. In a lyrical, confessional talk, Sting treats us to songs from his latest musical, and to an encore of "Message in a Bottle." A bit out of topic...but worth listening to. Great songwriter, great speaker.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

It is not only about the Arts...

Launched in 2013,® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. They believe computer science and computer programming should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.
-- Watch "Code Stars"
--'s work covered by CBS
-- President Obama does the Hour of Code
-- Hour of Code has won the support of many celebrities
-- Watch "Let's teach kids to code" - 2012 TED talk by Prof. Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab

The Space Between Seeing and Really Seeing

Flutist Jessica Sherer has earned a reputation for taking on many unique and varied musical projects. As an orchestral musician, Jessica began her career performing with the New World Symphony at age nineteen and has since performed with numerous orchestras across the US including the Portland Columbia Symphony, the Orlando Philharmonic, the Boston Civic Orchestra, Sarah McLachlan’s touring orchestra, and toured with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players. Currently she is principal flutist with Sinfonia Gulf Coast, piccoloist with the Albany Symphony, second flutist with the LaGrange Symphony, and performs regularly with the Spartanburg Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra Augusta (read more here). In addition to maintaining a large and selective private studio, Jessica serves as the Flute Teaching Artist for the Atlanta Music Project, an "el sistema" organization dedicated to achieving social change through music. This is a presentation she gave at the 2012 TEDx Centennial Park Women conference on the topic of social change through music.
Very interesting - how learning music develops 4 essential qualities that will help kids succeed, independently of their social background: grit, discipline, ambition and curiosity.

Atlanta Music Project

Founded in 2010, the Atlanta Music Project provides intense music education for underserved youth right in their neighborhood. Another program inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, AMP believes the pursuit of musical excellence leads to the development of confidence, creativity and ambition, thus sparking positive social change in the individuals and the communities they serve.
-- AMP featured on CNN
-- AMP featured on Myfoxatlanta
-- inspiration for AMP: El Sistema

In 2012 the Atlanta Music Project students got a chance to perform "Another Brick In The Wall" with Rogers Waters at Philips Arena in Atlanta.