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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lifelong Learners

Lifelong Learners
Learning begins early, extends in and out of school for years, and continues ongoing.  Google has taken initial steps to provide students with cloud-based tools to support their work in learning.  A next step together could leapfrog Boston to the forefront of emerging learning patterns, providing all current middle and high school students with the tools they need to work on learning in, out, and beyond their experiences in school.

Why Google?  Nothing is perfect, but Google is the most trusted, long-term platform for cloud-based living.  Few companies offer as high chances of longevity and consistency.  No other company offers the same value proposition for long-term ubiquitous computing.
For Google to have the impact it could on learning, it would need to address:
  1. Transferability
  2. Google Drive
  3.  Blogs
  4. Badges: (Common Core, Coding, Other)

Transferability. Kids are mobile.  Google Apps for Education is not.  Accounts must be transferable from within a school district account and into a new district.  This continuity is essential for long-term HMH is working with Google on a pilot to facilitate account migration and distributed trust administration.

Google Drive’s great fit for learners is obvious.  This “virtual laptop” gives kids automatically saved and sharable access to all their documents from any connected device.

Blogs.  Sharing work and getting feedback is the “hinge” between teaching and learning. Greg Nadeau’s recent TEDx talk on lifelong learning blogs (text below) explains how kids sharing their work with their team of trusting, loving adults can provide a profound system breakthrough in the amount of positive attention kids get.

Badges are the missing component.  Competency-based education demands an approach to learning based on standards not course structure or seat time.  Math and English standards are now well documented in the Common Core State Standards.  Teachers and common tests provide objective assessments, but parents and self-evaluations can also be very important.  The Scouts and FIRST Robotics provide other examples of standards that parents and other community members can grant badges on.

Fundamentally, a “badge” is a piece of evidence that the learner can do or has done a certain thing.   Different badge granters would have different credibility, but, taken together can paint a holistic picture of a learner:
Three Examples Lifelong Learning Badges

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