Learning Matters

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ian Jukes on New Visions for Teaching and Learning

Ian Jukes is a busy man today, working hard for his money. In addition to two keynotes, he is offering a sectional presentation too. It's a big sectional, held in a lecture hall where Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know is usually broadcast from.

New Visions for Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century, is also on his website. Ian Jukes introduced the focus as how we can help our students be digitally literate with 21st Century Skills and meet traditional academic expectations at the same time. Starting metaphor is learning as a seven layer dip: content, process, tools, school to career (the skills to be successful in the workplace are different from those in school and higher ed), community, home (the most important factor in student success), assessment (quantitative and qualitative, summative and formative).

Today, Jukes notes, academic and performance assessment is central to the learning process. But will traditional forms of instruction support student learning that can be retained and exhibited on a form of assessments by our students? Can we in a structured manner teach process skills and critical thinking. Jukes offers up the example of a classroom learning project of an exotic pet store where they can learn science content, math content, language arts content, etc., but in the context of career and life skills and applied tools. Call it embedded instruction, project based learning, integrated units, woven instruction, killing two or multiple birds with a single stone, it is key approach. But are we, collectively, in education prepared to do this as the rule and not the exception? We know that learning by doing keeps well, and there is value in the doing. The real life connections also offer opportunities to engage parents and other community members in the learning process, which is a benefit to the students and also the school institution. Jukes provides another example of an integrative activity, the tattoo artist, that incorporates science, math, language, ethics, and workplace skills.

Now, this more demanding in terms of preparation than teaching out of a textbook or prepackaged curriculum if it is to be done well. Professional development, collaboration, and planning time are indispensable, even with a good list of borrowed resources to use as templates. Ian Jukes closed by highlighting three useful resources, including the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which has very extensive resources for educators on research, projects, and instructional modules. Edutopia also has print and electronic publications available free. I subscribe to these had they are indeed high quality, and the price is right.

As he came to the end, Jukes recommended several books for further reading. These were Ted McCain's Teaching for Tomorrow, Donna Walker Tileston's What Every Teacher Should Know: The 10 Book Collection, Mike Schmoker's Results: The Key to Continuous School Improvement, Wiggins and McTighe's Understanding by Design, Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, and Sheryl Feinstein's Secrets of the Teenage Brain.

Great one hour download! Never miss an opportunity to see Jukes if it presents itself.

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