Trying to find math inside everything else

Archive for the ‘PGL’ Category

Partnership for Global Learning – Final Day

Today was a fairly brief day to wrap up the conference, but it did have a few noteworthy elements.

The Power of Simulation – MUNSA Secretariat
Run by those same students as the Model U.N. Panel, they once again made us marvel at how they were so well spoken and prepared, sometimes more so than some adult presenters. We went through a simulation on the effects of land mines. Silently we walked from the conference room and down the hall to the atrium. Once there, we stopped and lined up horizontally. We were silently brought forward in waves to cross the atrium, but as we did, we had to pick up a card. If the card said we were alive, we crossed. If dead, we had to lie down on the floor. If maimed, we could sit or choose to crawl on to another card. If maimed twice, we had to sit as we were too injured. The imagery of the bodies sprawled across the floor was powerful, the silence was eerie, and the whole event was motivating for all of us to want to do more.

Maya Soetoro-Ng was supposed to be at the conference to speak but couldn’t make it. Instead she sent us a video message/lecture. To me it just underscored two things: video lectures are the lowest of the low in terms of engagement factor, and technical difficulties can make your lose a class and make it hard to get it back.

Advertisements

Partnership for Global Learning Conference – Day 2

Today was the second, main day of the PGL conference. There was a lot going on, a non-stop day of events. Let me try to break it down.

Curriculum Development for Global CompetenceHeidi Hayes Jacobs
This talk was…agitating. The speaker was sarcastic. She seems to have not adjusted her talk at all for her audience, railing against us for not doing things that we are, in fact, doing at that very conference, such as watching a film about the schools in Finland. She asked the question “Why aren’t students doing TED talks?” when they, in fact, are. It’s what TED Youth Day is all about, and we had a session about it in the ISSN conference. Her pleas for Web 2.0 tools often seemed superficial in their application (Wordle), and she seemed to have a point of view that tech was better just because it was tech. (Later in the day I had a conversation with my co-worker about how an abacus would be a great tool for improving place value numeracy.) The Clearinghouse at Curriculum 21 does seem like a great resource, though.

What’s Global in the Common Core Standards?
A good question that wasn’t really answered. This session seemed to be about how they are answering that question, but not really working on it ourselves or providing an answer.

Light-Speed Technology for the Global ClassroomAlan November
Excellent talk. While perhaps not as mind-blowing as Andreas Schleicher, I felt like Alan really had an idea of the complexity of not just using technology but knowing how to use it. He informed a lot of people of the dangers of things like the Google/Facebook filter bubble and had some lessons on how to really circumvent it. It’s important that our students learn, and thus we learn ourselves first, how to search more specifically. (His example, in trying to find how UK schools teach the American Revolution, was to focus the search only on .uk sites, specifically their version of .edu, which I forget at the moment.) Our students also need to know how to check the veracity of a site (the example of martinlutherking.org was given, but searching for academic .edu sites that link to it reveals its insidiousness). His talk also really had a much more global focus, and how we can find those different perspectives online if we know how to look.

Game Design and Gaming for Students
Great session, I came away with a lot of resources, contacts, and ideas. I think I’ll have a whole future post on gaming in the classroom, so I won’t elucidate too much. But I hadn’t really considered game design as an educational tool. Think about it, though: when you think about game design, you don’t need to just know the rules of a game, you need to know WHY those rules are the way they are. A much deeper understanding.

Teaching about the UN: Model United Nations as a Tool for Global Learning
This session was run by students and they were all really impressive. We ran through a practice MUN session ourselves, I got to ask them about how their school runs it, and I got really excited for the possibilities of our embassies in our school this year.

Tme to collapse now, one day left!

ISSN Summer Institute – Day 2

Day 2 of the ISSN Summer Institute came to an end, and it was quite a full day. Some good sessions, some poor sessions, and a really amazing keynote speaker.

TEDx –
This session was moderately useful in introducing the ideas of having TEDx talks in our schools. I learned about the TEDx Youth Day, which seemed like a great opportunity, though it being in November seems like it would be hard to get ready for in time. It got me excited for the possibility for hosting one, or even a viewing party, with our schools, though.

Project-Based Learning
This double session was pretty great. We walked right into a project, the presenters stepping into their roles, pushing us into our roles as engineers, that I think got the session off to a great start. The presenters modeled the group roles, the material management, the rubrics, and how to start with the problem and provide the information we need to know only once we’ve determined that we need to know it, and different strengths worked on different things (engineering, budgets,marketing), but all the groups naturally had to work together. An excellent example.

Networking
This session was…not very useful. I found the New York Region session to be more useful in terms of networking.

Then the ISSN Summer Institute officially ended and we transitioned into the larger Partnership for Global Learning conference. We had a lovely dance performance before dinner, but our keynote speaker Andreas Schliecher was amazing. He presented data from the PISA assessment on what really affects student learning, what acts as a predictor of student success more than just grades, the relationship of equity and success. I really liked how lateral accountability is one of e keys of success, because it makes students professional without removing accountability. And all of his claims had data to support it.

Because, as he said, “without data, you are just another person with an opinion.”