Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Future of Education is Global

Since its 2009 launch, Skype in the Classroom has given students the ability to circle the globe, visiting places they once could only read about in books, and allowing them to connect with people of all ages and cultures around the world – without having to leave their classrooms. Over 400,000 teachers from 265 countries and regions have joined our mission to bring real life learning to over 6 million students – enabling them to talk to marine biologists, zoo keepers and authors, visit Kenya, Kiribati and the top of Mount Everest, and learn about how to be better global citizens. This December 3rd and 4th, teachers are invited to celebrate learning without borders during Microsoft’s first-ever Global Skype-a-Thon. Over the course of this two-day event, teachers will conduct Skype calls in their schools with one of hundreds of guest speakers, virtual field trip partners, or other classrooms around the world in an attempt to travel one million virtual miles.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Engaging young people

Philly Youth Poetry Movement's (PYPM) Gregory Corbin and Denice Frohman ask: How do we engage young people? How do we create safe spaces for expression, empowerment and transformation? What does self-sustainable education look like and how can we help young adults become the leaders of tomorrow? PYPM, a volunteer-driven youth poetry organization, works with young people to help them discover their voices through spoken word. Young poets find value in their voices, explore how they fit and don't fit in the world, expose themselves to diverse stories and listen to one another. Corbin explains: "Their stories are classrooms. Their lessons are life experiences. Both are abundant, beautiful chances to change the world."

In Bermuda Break The Chains (BTC) is a creative writing and performance program offered by Chewstick Foundation using spoken word and poetry to develop literacy, confidence, identity, creativity and collaborative skills.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Starting from Empathy

Start Empathy, an initiative of Ashoka, is a community of individuals and institutions dedicated to building a future in which every child masters empathy. The main idea is to see  young people as changemakers and help them develop the skills they need to be empathetic, ethical actors who will positively impact their own lives, their communities, their schools, their companies, their countries and the world, now and throughout their lives. In order to make empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving as valued in education as traditional academic skills, Ashoka created the Changemaker Schools Network, a national community of leading elementary schools that serve as models for cultivating these skills in students.
Start Empathy has also launched Think It Up, a national education campaign that supports student-powered learning projects and prioritizes empathy and changemaking in our schools.

Explore the extraordinary journeys of three young changemakers who are leading their own movements for social change and promoting the core skills of empathy, teamwork, fluid leadership and change making.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Music for Peace

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, protects and assists people fleeing conflict or persecution. Established in 1951, it now has a staff of more than 8,000 working in 126 countries. It has twice been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The TRACKS website was created to share some extraordinary stories of survival, hope and home. Alaa's story has been featured here.
In 2011 Alaa, now 29, fled the war in Syria to Lebanon carrying only his violin and a few belongings. Little did he know his musical talent would become his lifeline. He was offered a summer music scholarship by Fabrica Communication Research Group in Italy. Over the last few months he has performed live concerts and even recorded his own album. Despite missing his family, who are split between Syria and Lebanon, Alaa decided to stay in Europe and seek asylum. Alaa’s family had an art gallery and music space in Syria, but they have been destroyed in the conflict. His dream is to rebuild this space in Europe, to reunite with his family and to relive their happy memories.

Fabrica Musica and Alaa Arsheed from Fabrica on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Enlivening Education

Field trips are a great way for teachers to engage students and give them a first hand understanding of a subject — but they're not always practical or even possible. Expeditions allows teachers to make their curriculum come alive by taking their students on field trips to almost anywhere they can imagine. Around the globe, on the surface of Mars, on a dive to coral reefs or back in time — abstract concepts come to life in Expeditions, giving students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom (from Google Expeditions)
-- Read Google Virtual-Reality System Aims to Enliven Education on the New York Times
-- Visit Google Apps for Education

Saturday, November 07, 2015

We Are What We Art

The National Guild for Community Arts Education supports and advances lifelong learning opportunities in the arts. They foster the creation and development of community arts education organizations by providing research and information resources, professional development, networking opportunities, funding, and advocacy on behalf of the field. They believe that involvement in the arts is essential to individual fulfillment and community life and that arts education enriches individual lives and improves communities.
The video featured below speaks not only to the benefit of providing and enhancing arts education opportunities for all, but also — as a youth-led media piece (produced and edited by the young artist, C├ęsar Martinez, during the National Guild's 2012 Conference for Community Arts Education in Dallas, TX) — illustrates what is possible when you engage the unique creativity of young people.

Friday, November 06, 2015


Urban Arts Partnership advances the intellectual, social and artistic development of underserved public school students through arts-integrated education programs to close the achievement gap.
UAP serves over 15,000 students and 500 teachers in 100 under served schools across New York City and Los Angeles.
-- UAP blog

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Stand for the Arts

Stand For The Arts, a project of Ovation, is an American initiative to raise awareness, protect access, and encourage action on behalf of the arts. They believe that the arts and arts education are not a luxury and that we can’t afford to live in a world without ART. The arts aren’t just for artists.
-- Read Happier Students, Higher Scores: The Role of Arts Integration

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The arts are not a flower

Arts education isn’t something we add on after we’ve achieved other priorities like raising test scores and getting kids into college. It’s actually critical for achieving those priorities in the first place. That’s what the Turnaround Arts program is all about.” — First Lady Michelle Obama
Why do US schools continue to suffer from declines in arts education budgets and instructional time even though a 2005 Harris Poll found that 93% of Americans believe that the arts are vital to a well-rounded education? In this thoughtful TED talk, Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, persuasively argues that the arts are not a bouquet of daisies we give our children when we (or they) can afford it; they are also a tool (a wrench) that can be used to address some of the most intractable problems our young people face.
Rachel Goslins was appointed by President Obama to manage the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in 2009. Under her management, the Committee launched 3 new national initiatives, including Turnaround Arts, the first federally-led public/private partnership to bring arts education to a group of the country’s lowest-performing elementary schools.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Why Some of Us Don't Have One True Calling

"Embrace your many passions. Follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes. Explore your intersections. Embracing our inner wiring leads to a happier, more authentic life."
What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, if you're not sure you want to do just one thing for the rest of your life, you're not alone. In this inspiring TED talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick describes the kind of people she calls "multipotentialites" — who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. Are you one?
Great talk, worth watching.