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The Global Education Leaders Program (Seattle 2011)

The fifth Global Education Leaders Program meeting recently convened in Seattle bringing the world’s best school systems face to face with the biggest: Finland and Korea, India and Brazil – alongside nine other systems, national, state and city. On the fault line between best and biggest, two points of stark divergence came through.

First, the case for change: hard to make if you’re topping  (PISA), easier if you’re anchored near the bottom.  Intriguingly the Finns are asserting a number of reasons why a traditional approach to schooling can’t be sustained. The country’s leading industries, lumber and technology, are weakening. Its place at the head of the education rankings is under threat and academic performance is becoming patchier – signs of that Anglo Saxon gap between top and bottom quartiles starting to spread.   Contrast that with Brazil, where no one doubts for a moment that the publicly funded school system must be rapidly transformed, to provide the country with a motor for sustainable growth.

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Lessons from the DOD: Energizing and Engaging Students through Technology

November 10, 2011 at 5:31 am PST

A recent American Forces Press Service article reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) launched a visionary program to renovate or replace 134 of its 194 schools worldwide. The DOD allotted  $3.7 billion to bring all of its schools up to the highest technology levels by 2016 and Congress appropriated nearly $400 million in fiscal 2011 to aid the effort. This is a fantastic program that builds on the Department of Education’s current initiative to prioritize technologies such as telepresence for K-12 schools.

As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) has embraced multiple initiatives, from building robots to teaching Japanese in a virtual learning program. According to the story, military children move an average of six to eight times over the course of their school careers, making these programs particularly important. Read More »

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Reflections from the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE)

Thirty thousand feet above Iraq, an hour out from Qatar and the Persian Gulf – a good place to look back on this week’s third annual WISE, the World Innovation Summit for Education. It is, bar none, the biggest education conversation on earth. It has the power to convene: the world’s leading educators implored the world’s governments to honor the 2015 Millennium Education goals. In my opinion, although WISE has done significant work in the past few years there is still  a lot to be done to create a coherent, systematic  approach to education transformation. Qatar and the Region as a whole need that desperately. Arab leaders know they have to create 75M jobs -  to sustain growth and meet the aspirations of countless young people. That means building a generation of problem-solvers and entrepreneurs. The precondition is better education.

WISE is pinning its hopes on new and innovative forms of learning – finding them, promoting them and scaling them. Charlie Leadbeater’s brilliant book on learning innovation was unveiled here this week. The Haiti learning initiative, built around inspirational new approaches to education, was launched with the WISE imprimatur. And innovative projects – from Afghan photography to smart-funded academies in America -- were hailed as game changers.

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Generation Telepresence: Putting Video in the Palms of Students’ Hands

November 4, 2011 at 5:31 am PST

Put tablets, laptops, netbooks, among other devices, in the hands of grade- school students, and it’s only minutes before they’re innovating, creating, and communicating.

From the time they’re aware of the world around them, today’s children see and use technology. I’ve written before about the ubiquity of technology in the classrooms of our youngest learners, and as noted in a recent Education Week article, schools continue to experiment with available technology to determine the right tools to maximize their students’ learning. Read More »

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Global Education Leaders’ Program (GELP)

The Global Education Leaders’ Program (GELP) will host an event in Seattle, Washington November 3-5. I will keynote and meet with  Senior Education leaders from jurisdictions across the globe to discuss their visions  and challenges with education transformation, build upon frameworks and practices across jurisdictions, and collaborate to develop and refine plans for their own systems.

Cisco, in partnership with several organizations, launched GELP in September 2009 as a response to the vision outlined in the Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century White Paper and to challenge and support Education System leaders ready to implement this vision.  GELP is creating a growing coalition of thought leaders, policy-makers, consultants and practitioners with an on- going professional learning process, a virtual support community, and use of collaborative technologies.

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