Building Student Agency: Multiple Intelligence Strengths

What it is: The Learning Genome Project started nearly 8 years ago in response to a sense of urgency to make education more about those it serves: students. In the process of building the Learning Genome, I came to a realization that even if this perfect tool existed, there wasn’t the infrastructure in schools to fully utilize it. This led to the start of a school, Anastasis Academy. Our primary goal as a school is to recognize the humanity in each of our students, to get to know them as individuals. Beyond the trendy “personalization” or “individualization” we seek to know identity. More than that, we want students to know and love their own identity.

It’s a large undertaking, but one that I’m proud to say that we do really well. Our teachers know who are students are on a deeply personal level. In turn, we are able to help our students know who they are, and love that person and the contribution they make to the world.

We don’t get it right in every moment, but it is a journey we are committed to as a community every day.

How do we do it? We start each year by building a Learner Profile for each student. This Learner Profile is the beginning of helping students build this kind of agency. It is the start of the journey. During this important meeting, our teachers ask interest/passion questions to help us get to know students better…you can download those for free here. Next, we go through the Learning Genome card decks. This is the first of the card decks. Through this one-on-one “game” students are able to tell us more about who they are. For shy or introverted students, the cards are a wonderful catalyst for opening up and sharing without feeling like they are in the spotlight. For those who have no problem sharing stories about themselves, these cards give those stories direction. The Multiple Intelligence Card Strength card set will help you to better identify the strengths that your student’s have as a learner, but my favorite part of using this card deck is all the incidental information that you get along the way. As students interact with the cards, they inevitably begin to tell you stories that reveal parts of their personalities, their family dynamics, their deepest joys, and fears. As they place cards, you will start to understand places where they feel weaknesses or vulnerabilities. You’ll see them hesitate over where to place a card and hear stories that fill in the blanks.

Before you even begin teaching these students, you will see them for the incredible, unique individuals they are. Rather than being “students” (as if we could categorize an entire population with one word!), you’ll see them. Hopes, dreams, and flaws. Learners. Students with names and identities.

If you are interested in the Learning Genome Project Card Sets, you can find them here, the Learner Profile spreadsheet I talk about is available as well!

Wildly Audacious Goals and the Power of One

In 2010, I thought that technology might be the savior of education. I created the Learning Genome Project as an attempt to make it possible to personalize education for every child. This project took a detour when I realized that, in the United States, we exist within a system that has not been designed to educate the individual. This led to creating a model that honors unique individuals, a model that would make utilizing the Learning Genome Project possible. But this isn’t a post about that story. This is a post about the connections that this project has made possible.

About a month ago, I received an email through the Learning Genome Project’s website. This isn’t unusual, what was unusual was the incredibly serendipitous connection that it enabled.

Bodo Hoenen contacted me because our projects are eerily similar. Our thought process and approach is incredibly similar. But Bodo comes at the problem of education from a very different direction. Bodo recognized the vast number of refugee children (and girls in particular) who have no access to the school system of the country from which they have fled. Additionally, the host countries where these children land often don’t have the necessary resources to educate these children. The result is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 million children world-wide who aren’t being educated. At the current pace, UNESCO estimates that it will take until 2086 before we are globally equipped to provide these children with quality education.

Does anyone else see the problem with this? 2086 is a long way off. There is a sense of urgency here. Children around the world cannot wait for us to get this right. They can’t wait until 2086 for this problem to be rectified. Children need us to solve this right now. Current approaches aren’t able to scale quickly enough to make a difference for children who are waiting for an education. Bodo Hoenen through Dev4x is working to change this. They have a fantastically audacious open project that goes beyond current approaches.

This is where Bodo’s vision and the Learning Genome Project overlap. Dev4X is working on a technology solution that will empower these under served children and their communities to take control of their own learning and create better lives for themselves.

Dev4X was founded on the belief that this global challenge can be solved while these children are still young by globally sourcing solutions and open collaboration.

At Anastasis, our students are currently working on an inquiry block, “Power of One.” The kids are exploring change makers, and looking into what it means to be a change maker. They are also investigating ways that they can enact change. They are recognizing their own Power of One.

I cannot say enough about the incredible students at Anastasis. These are kids who live their learning every day. We’ve challenged the kids during this inquiry block. Memorize one, give one, pray for one, serve one. The idea is to make one small change that can actually become a BIG thing. In the first week of this inquiry block, a group of three students came to me and asked if they could stay in for recess. “Mrs. Tenkely, we were talking during the morning walk and realized that we each have $100. We were talking about what we were going to use our money for and realized that we don’t really have anything we really need. So then we thought that maybe we could pool our money and buy a Sphero robot to do random acts of kindness for others. But then we remembered that we have 3 Spheros at school and realized that you would let us use them. So we were wondering if we could use our money to buy little things to hide around the school for other kids as a random act of kindness. Can we stay in for recess and hide things for kids with notes?” I am telling you, AMAZING students!

Power of One

Each of our classes has a charitable organization that they pour into for the year. One of our intermediate classes is connected with a food bank run by adults with special needs called Stepping Stones. Our students are helping to put together boxes of food for Thanksgiving. They’ve agreed to help come up with ideas to raise money for these boxes. The kids split into groups as part of their inquiry block to think about ways that they could raise money. Last week, two girls came into the office to propose their idea: “We were wondering if we could offer horse rides at school to raise money for Stepping Stones?” These girls created a waiver to sign, proposed the idea to the owner of the building we lease space from, created fliers, and organized for horses to be at school today. In 2 hours, these girls raised $400 giving horse rides at school. They organized everything themselves. Change makers!

What does this have to do with Dev4X? Anastasis students are now working on the part they can play in education for kids around the world. They are considering how they can be a part of Bodo’s wildly audacious goal of making education a reality for children all over the world. Students will be considering how they can add to the conversation, and how they can help raise some money to put into the project.

We would like to challenge other schools to do the same. What can you do to raise some money to make education a reality for children everywhere? There are 98,817 public schools in the United States, what would happen if each of them raised $100? Could we enact change for education world-wide that would have incredible implications for our own educational model? Could it be that children are the key to education reform world-wide? Are they the power of one?

Dev4X has a live Indiegogo Campaign. This is an opportunity to transform education, an opportunity to “be the change you want to see in the world.” (Gandhi) What can your students do to make a change in the world? How can you empower your students?

Bodo Hoenen is our closing keynote at the 5Sigma Edu Conference in February. You will not want to miss seeing Bodo live, and experiencing the model of education that makes the Power of One stories above possible. Early bird registration ends this week! Sign up now!

 

Technology: the savior of education?

In 2009, I left teaching. I didn’t do it because I was fed up with the system, or because I didn’t like my job. Quite the opposite. I really loved being a computer teacher. I loved the freedom of writing my own curriculum every day, and getting to know my students. I had a great time helping other teachers learn how to use technology, and coming up with ideas for how they could integrate it into their classrooms. In 2009, I left teaching for health reasons. I have auto immune disorders (Rheumatoid Arthritis and Raynaud’s Syndrome) and in 2009, my rheumatologist recommended that I take a year off to see if my body would stop attacking itself. Get away from the germs the wreak havoc on the system.

So, that is what I did. I took a year off, fully anticipating that this little experiment would not work and that I would be back in the classroom by 2010.

In 2008 (I know, I’m doing this in the wrong order!), I was teaching my students how to build a website using Wix. This is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) platform, but also allowed for some basic HTML embedding and tweaking. I was demonstrating for students how they could embed a Google Map onto their websites and asked the question, “if I wanted to put a map of the capital of the United States on my website, what would I need to type in?” Blank. Stares.

To clarify, these were 10 and 11-year-old students who are living IN the United States of America. I tried again, “You guys! The capital of the United States, you know, the country we live in?” At this point a few hands raised. “New York?” “San Francisco?” This was one of those face-palm teacher moments. In the interest of time, I gave them the answer. This scenario happened with 2 more classes. Out of 74 fifth grade students, not one of them knew the capital of their own country!!! At this point I started to panic a little. How could our social studies curriculum fail to mention the capital of the United States? I decided that I was going to take all of the curriculum home over the summer and create supplemental guides using technology to help teach what wasn’t in the curriculum. I didn’t stop at social studies, I took the reading, writing, math, and science curriculum home for kindergarten through fifth grade. The back of my MDX filled, I had a goal: to leverage technology to solve this problem.

As I poured over pages and pages of curriculum, one thing became abundantly clear…this was not a problem with the curriculum. At least not in the way I had assumed. It was all there. The kids had even done worksheets and taken tests on the information! When it came time to retrieve the information for a practical purpose, they couldn’t do it. Analyzing the curriculum, I could see why. The way that these skills were being taught was not going to reach my students. I knew these kids. I had taught them for years. As I looked at what the curriculum offered as “learning” I knew that it wouldn’t work for the majority of the students I saw each week in my computer lab. These are brilliant kids, but the only thing that the curriculum required of them was that they look at something, and then regurgitate what they had seen right back on paper. None of it ever had to take long-term residence in the brain. It went directly from the eyes to the hand. My pursuit of a technology supplement guide took on a new goal: take what was in the curriculum, and use technology to bring the learning to life. I had the added benefit of knowing each of the kids I was writing this for. I had their faces in my mind as I wrote these technology guides. I could picture their excitement over learning with what I was pulling together.

Fast forward again to 2009. I hadn’t finished the tech guides, so I was hired as a consultant to finish them for the remainder of the curriculum. I picked up a few other consulting gigs at other schools in the area. As I went through their curriculum I realized that this wasn’t a localized problem. This was a one-size-fits-all problem. At the end of the day, the real trouble was that curriculum isn’t designed for the individual, but for the masses. And in creating for the masses, it completely forgot its goal of teaching students. Who are individuals.

One day as I was working on these technology supplement guides and flipping through curriculum, a song came on Pandora (internet radio) that I had never heard before. I frantically looked for a sticky note to jot down the name of the artist. I stopped for a minute after I got the artist’s name down (Zee Avi, for those who are interested), and had a true geek out moment over how far technology had come. I marveled at the way that technology was so advanced that it could predict what music I would like, all based on one piece of information. It felt like a terribly intimate thing for technology to be able to do (particularly because at the time, I had no idea how the background technology worked!). In the midst of my geeking out, I had a thought: what if curriculum worked more like Pandora? What if we could input one piece of information about a student, and have technology predict ways they might like to learn? I could not shake this idea, and Tweeted it out. My PLN instantly retweeted that thought. I emailed an app developer in Australia that I had been working with and asked if technology was advanced enough to do something like that with curriculum. His response was somewhere along the lines of, “if you can think it up, anything is possible.” I couldn’t let the idea go, so this app developer pointed me toward Balsamiq and told me to learn what I could about how Pandora worked and then prototype my idea. Since I had all the time in the world on my hands, I did exactly that. Pandora called itself the music genome project, based on the human genome project. Essentially, it identifies attributes of music (over 400 of them) and tags each piece of music with those attributes. A map of music. Clearly learning has attributes, so I set out naming those, planning the way that learning could be broken down into the minutia so that an algorithm could identify the perfect resource for a student. At this point I had convinced myself that technology would be the savior of education. All we need is to better individualize for students! Problem solved! Clearly I’m a genius! ūüėČ

Only, the more that I talked to teachers, the more I talked with administrators, the more I looked for investors, the more that I examined the system, the more I realized…education isn’t quite ready for this genius.

The trouble is, we have a one-size-fits-all system. We have classes of 25+ students. We have teachers who are overworked and underpaid. We have a limited amount of time. We have limited budgets. The idea of mass education, in some ways, locks us into the one-size-fits-all. Standards and testing have become hallmarks of education. I started to recognize that even if I get the Learning Genome Project built, I still have to find a way for teachers to use it for students. With the current setup, that would mean the very top students in a class, those considered ‘gifted,’ and the very bottom of the class, those considered ‘low,’ would get to use it. The vast majority of students, those in the middle of the bell curve, would never get the individualized plan. Yet, they deserved it just as much.

This is where the Learning Genome Project took a small (read: enormous) detour. In order for this technology to be used to create a learning map for every student, a new system was needed. I began to consider what type of learning model this type of technology would be best utilized in. I couldn’t find a fit. Sadly, I couldn’t find anything that recognized that every student was a unique individual. One with unique learning patterns. Unique gifts. A unique worldview. I couldn’t find anything that recognized students with names. Everything was geared toward “students,” as if that one word can capture the genius of the individuals it claims. We needed a new system. One that honored humanity. That honored the students with names. I began to dream about what such a school would look like. I talked with other brilliant educators about what that would be like. The result: a new school. A new school model. A brand new way of approaching learning: I started a k-8 school, Anastasis Academy.

I began this journey believing that technology was going to solve the problems of education, I suppose that is a natural path for someone so saturated in current educational technology. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that the problem wasn’t one that technology, like the Learning Genome Project, could solve but rather, one that technology could support. At the heart of what isn’t working is a system. A system that sees “students,” and not students with names. A system aimed at teaching the masses in a way that ends up minimizing humanity. Minimizing what makes us unique. Minimizing the genius that each of us alone brings to the world. I set out to create technology that would revolutionize learning, and instead detoured to the real game changer: a model that recognizes the individual, that honors it. Beginning from this place, students with names, learning can grow. Technology that supports that learning can grow.

The Learning Genome Project has taken a 5 year back seat, not because it isn’t important. Not because it can’t work. It has taken a back seat because first we need to recognize the humanity. When we really see the kids with names, the technology can support. It can help us reach each of those unique individuals. It can transform.

Anastasis Academy has been the single greatest “accident” of my life. In many ways I stumbled into starting a school. Seeing the way everything grows out of ‘students with names,’ the humanity, I’m able to again look at the Learning Genome Project with new eyes. In and of itself, the Learning Genome¬† Project (technology) won’t be the savior of education. Coupled with a model that honors humanity, it is unstoppable. I know this to be true. I’ve had the luxury of 5 years in Anastasis Academy. I’ve seen students come alive. I’ve seen them #standagain in who they are as learners, in who they are as the unique individuals they were created to be. If you’d like to see Anastasis Academy first hand, I hope you will join us for our education conference, 5Sigma. If you were a supporter of my Indiegogo campaign, I’d like to waive your conference fee! Just email me for a special code! I’d love for you to be my guest!

Last week, I had the great privilege of virtually meeting Bodo Hoenen. We share an eerily similar vision, come at from very different angles. Bodo is launching his own Indiegogo campaign. It is one that I will support because I so strongly believe that the world needs this. Bodo will be our closing keynote at 5Sigma Edu Conference. I cannot wait! I’m interested in partnering with those who share the vision. In those who know that we have to do better for kids now. Please help us BLOW UP the Internet with a new message about education reform. One about students with names. Individuals who are uniquely gifted and set apart to do something important in the world. If you’ve taught for any amount of time, you know that you are among genius waiting to be unleashed! It is time to empower kids. It is time to stop limiting with labels. It is time to stand again.

Follow Anastasis Students in the upcoming weeks as they work to transform education. As we begin our new inquiry unit, students are exploring the power of one. They are learning that they have an unique voice and worldview. They have the power to transform. I hope you’ll join us!

The Making of the Learning Genome Project

So many of you have offered tremendous support, donations and a megaphone to spread the word about the Learning Genome Project. ¬†I am so grateful! ¬†Today I thought I would lift the curtain just a bit and share a behind the scenes look at the Learning Genome Project. ¬†My plan was to do this in video form using Screenium or Screeny. Those plans were foiled when NEITHER worked even with updates. ¬†#sigh ¬†Instead, I’ll write out my story and take you on a picture journey of how it all took place. ¬†If you haven’t had a chance to lend a helping hand, it is not too late. ¬†Honestly, even $1 makes such a BIG difference! ¬†If everyone of my readers gave just $1, this would be taken care of tonight and we would be able to start the next phase of development. Click here to help out now!

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. ¬†If it doesn’t exist or it can be done better, that is what you do. ¬†This mind-set can be a bit of a curse…once I get an idea in my head, it is like a broken record that plays over and over until I do something about it. ¬†My dad is prime example of this, he started Koostik with a styrofoam cup and an iPhone. Once the idea was there, it stayed until he saw it realized…in this case that means a growing company and product in Restoration Hardware and Red Envelope. ¬†He is awesome.

For me this process started as I dug through curriculum and worked to supplement it with technology tools. ¬†The idea was to “fill” the gaps with technology tools that would make the curriculum work better for students. ¬†As I went through publisher after publisher, I started realizing that the problem wasn’t a lack of technology (if you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know that is a BIG realization for me). The real problem was that we were trying to address the needs of an incredibly diverse population of kids with a one-size-fits-all curriculum. ¬†The troubling thing for me was that I sat on the committees that made the curriculum decisions. ¬†I was sold (just like everyone else) on the premise that these curricula had “differentiated” instruction. ¬†I have come to hate that term. ¬†You know what it means? ¬†It means that curriculum companies can sell more curriculum because they add in a highlighted section that says “differentiation!” and gives a one-size bigger or one-size smaller approach to the exact same problem. ¬†As I went through all of this curriculum, I couldn’t shake the feeling that adding in a bit of technology wasn’t going to solve the problem.

As a computer teacher, I taught 435 students every week. ¬†I taught the same 435 kids for 6 years. ¬†I saw them grow up, learned what made them tick, watched the frustration grow when they didn’t understand a learning objective. ¬†These kids were amazing. They were brilliant. They all had strengths and weaknesses that made them special. They all have a different understanding and approach to the world. ¬†We were stripping all of that uniqueness away and making them learn everything the same. We were expecting that they would learn the same things, the same way, and at the same time. ¬†Ludicrous! Nothing in life or growth and development happens this way, and yet that is what our education system is built on? ¬†This was really troubling for me. ¬†I couldn’t shake that it shouldn’t be that way.

In 2010 I took a year away from teaching for health reasons. ¬†During that year, I acted as an educational consultant for many area schools. ¬†This period of time re-emphasized those stirrings that I was having about education. This curriculum wasn’t working because it assumed too much sameness. I saw brilliant, gifted kids losing their passions because it wouldn’t get them into the swanky private high school (that looked just like every other school). How sad that we ask kids to give up their areas of gifting to get to the next level of learning. ¬†Something is wrong! ¬†One day I was working my way through curriculum, supplementing the holes with technology tools. ¬†I was listening to Pandora Internet radio. ¬†A song came on that I had never heard before, by an artist that was also new to me. ¬†I frantically searched for something to write on so that I could remember this new find. ¬†I remember thinking, “how amazing that we have come to a place in history where we can use technology to predict something as personal as music.” ¬†I was truly amazed that I could put in one piece of information and through a series of algorithms, Pandora could predict other music I would like. ¬†If it can work with music, surely it could work with curriculum.

This was the birth of that niggling thought that wouldn’t go away. ¬†This was the beginning of the Learning Genome Project. ¬†I had recently been introduced to a programmer (@ianchia) through @Doremigirl on Twitter. ¬†Ian and I had shared many conversations about what education apps could look like. ¬†This time it was my turn to ask a question. ¬†I wanted to know if it was possible to program what was in my head. ¬†“Well of course.” ¬†Ian introduced me to some wireframing tools and I was off and running. ¬†Over the next months, I dreamed up how the Learning Genome would work. ¬†I thought about the students that I wanted something better for. I thought about the frustrations I had as a teacher. I dreamed about a tool that would make the whole process easier.

Teachers share something in common: we all want the very best for our students. ¬†There are a few problems with this. ¬†First, we don’t always get to choose what we will teach. Many times our school or district hands us the curriculum and says, “go.” ¬†This is not conducive to doing the best we know how for every child. ¬†Second, we don’t always know that their is a tool/lesson/resource out there that could make all the difference for each student. ¬†Third, we have a limited time to search for that perfect tool/lesson/resource. ¬†A lot of system problems to overcome. ¬†If Pandora can do this for music, I can do it for education.

I started researching how Pandora works, what happens in the background that makes my experience possible? ¬†Pandora is called the Music Genome Project because it used the Human Genome Project as its inspiration. ¬†In the Human Genome Project, genes are mapped out. ¬†In the Music Genome Project, the “genes” of music are mapped out. ¬†I called my version the Learning Genome Project. ¬†Together, we will map the genes of education, those attributes that help us find commonalities that match the right content to each student at the right time.

First, we need to collect information about the learner. If we don’t know the learner, we can’t know what content best fits their needs. ¬†This is, in short, the best student information system ever.

Next, we have to know enough about the school and the classroom to make recommendations. It does us no good to recommend an iDevice app if the school has no access to that device.

We also have to know something about the lead learner (the teacher).

After we have the profile information, it is critical to know where students are in their learning. What needs to be learned? ¬†This is the individualized learning plan…each student has one.

 

From within the ILP, teachers, students and parents can create and have input on the learning goals.  These learning goals inform what happens in the hub of the genome.

When the learning goal has been identified, the genome “hub” comes into play. This is where resources (lessons, videos, apps, experiments, activities, etc.) are matched and recommended for the student. ¬†Much like Pandora, a learning channel is created.

Teachers (and students) can expand the results to view more information about the recommendation.  From here it can be added to teacher and student planners, and materials for the curriculum can be selected.

Teachers can see all student assignments within their planner. Here they can create groups for overlaps of student learning.  They can also create whole-class events.

After a student completes an activity, they record it within their ePortfolio. ¬†This is all completely integrated. ¬†Within the portfolio they can keep notes, documents, pictures, video and badges. ¬†Badges help students have a bread trail of where they have been in their learning. ¬†Portfolio’s are forever associated with a student, from year to year it travels and grows with them. ¬†Students can also have the option of downloading their portfolio for offline viewing.

In addition to portfolios and planners, the Learning Genome Project includes wiki, blog and photo tools.

Community tools keep students, teachers and parents in collaboration.

My brother and I had many of the same teachers growing up. ¬†We are very different people with 5 years separating us. ¬†My favorite teachers were not his. ¬†We had very similar experiences, the same outstanding teachers. But some teachers connected better with me than him. ¬†How do we help every child have influence of a “favorite” teacher? ¬†I created Twitacad. ¬†Even if that teacher isn’t in the child’s school, there is a blended learning component that makes that connection possible.

Twitacad offers teachers and students a platform for sharing, communicating, and learning.  It is all tied in to the Learning Genome. Everything works together.  Virtual teachers are listed as teachers for parents, students and other teachers to interact with.

The Learning Genome Project has assessment tools built in.  Assessment is based on mastery of a skill or concept.  This is directly related to what is happening in the student portfolio so that students, teachers and parents can view evidences of the learning.

How does content, resources, tools, lessons, apps, videos, etc. get into the genome?  It gets tagged with its learning attributes by incredible teachers around the world like you.  We all contribute to this project and we all benefit from it.

The hub (resource aggregation) portion of the Genome is free to everyone.  Every child deserves an education tailored to them.  Additional portions of the Learning Genome Project (planners, ePortfolios, blogs, wikis, Twitacad) will be a subscription based service.

The Learning Genome Project is not curriculum. ¬†It is a sorting tool that pulls the best options for every child. ¬†Teachers will be able to sort results based on price, Bloom’s Taxonomy level, standard, subject, and type of resource. ¬†This will tell you what curricular resources will best meet every child’s needs. ¬†Every time a resource is used, it gets rated by both student and teacher. Resources that are highest rated will be recommended first.

This is truly a quick overview of the Learning Genome project. ¬†There are so many intricacies and features that will make it revolutionary to education. ¬†The one hang up? I need help funding it! ¬†Sure, I could go and get some venture capitalists to fund it. The problem: I want the force that drives what happens to the Learning Genome Project to be what is best for kids…not what best impacts the bottom line. ¬†I believe that if we all put a little into this project, that we can create something revolutionary. ¬†We can all have a part in transforming education for the world.

I hope you will join me. ¬†I hope that you will realize that $1 and a few minutes is a small price to pay for a resource that has the potential to reach every child in the world. ¬†This is a small price to pay for our future. ¬†We can do this. ¬†Please click here and donate now…then spread the word to everyone you know and encourage them to do the same.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Re-imagine & Digital Blooms: different ways to approach learning

I’ve long been a fan of Bloom’s Taxonomy…not necessarily for all the ways it has been pushed into different fads throughout the years, but instead for the way that it helps me (and my students) think about the learning process. ¬†It helps me approach the learning process in a more holistic way, ensuring that I don’t camp out in one way of thinking and evidencing learning for too long. ¬†I think it is human nature to get excited about one way of thinking and suddenly everything we do falls into that. ¬†It can be a little bit like the new car that you purchased, you begin to see that car everywhere because you have a new awareness of it. ¬†I’ve noticed myself doing the same in teaching. ¬†Bloom’s Taxonomy helps me to keep myself cognizant of all the different ways to approach learning.

A few years ago, I created some different versions of Bloom’s Taxonomy for my students. ¬†I wanted them to really think about all the different ways that they can approach learning. ¬†Learning isn’t just memorization. ¬†It isn’t just reading and understanding. ¬†Most traditional schooling has them believing that this is all there is to learning. ¬†One of my goals over the past year is to help students understand that learning is life. ¬†It is a part of everything we do. There is something to be learned in every situation and from everyone we encounter. ¬†There are different ways to learn that give us a larger understanding and help us to make connections. ¬†That is exciting!

You will notice that my images don’t have the traditional Bloom’s pyramid. ¬†That is intentional. Each of these ways of thinking is important in its own right. I have used these with students so that they have an awareness of the different ways of learning, but also so that they can see what options are available to them when they are demonstrating learning. ¬†Powerful things happen when students can make decisions about how they choose to learn. Challenge them to enter into learning in different ways. ¬†A new approach to the same question can bring about amazing new insights.

Are you looking for the full-size poster version of these images? ¬†You can find them here, best of all you will be helping me make personalized education a reality for EVERY child. ¬†The poster options are along the right side of the page. ¬†My favorite is still the Peacock ūüôā

 

And the digital version:

 

Breakdown of the digital taxonomy with links:

Remember:

BBC Skillwise- http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/

Spelling City- http://spellingcity.com

Starfall- http://starfall.com

Discovery Streaming- http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com

Lexipedia- http://lexipedia.com

YouTube- http://youtube.com

Gamegoo- http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html

PBS Kids- http://pbskids.org

Understand:

Into the Book- http://reading.ecb.org

Skype- http://skype.com

Treasures- http://activities.macmillanmh.com/reading/treasures/

Book Adventure- http://bookadventure.org

Twitter- http://twitter.com

Apply:

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

PhotoBooth- Software

Scholastic- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/learn.jsp

Fotobabble- http://fotobabble.com

Google Earth- http://google.com/earth

Analyze:

Read Write Think- http://readwritethink.org

Cool Iris- http://cooliris.com

Wordle- http://wordle.net

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Mindomo- http://mindomo.com

Evaluate:

Shelfari- http://shelfari.com

Wikipedia- http://wikipedia.com

Think.com- http://think.com

Nota- http://notaland.com

Create:

Pic-Lits- http://piclits.com

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

ZimmerTwins- http://zimmertwins.com

Wiki Spaces- http://wikispaces.com

DomoNation- http://domonation.com

Glogster- http://edu.glogster.com

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Voicethread- http://voicethread.com

Kidblog- http://kidblog.org

Wetpaint- http://www.wetpaint.com

edublogs- http://edublogs.org

Stage’d- http://stagedproject.com/

Garageband- Software

iMovie- Software

I have also started a breakdown of apps for the iPad by Bloom’s Taxonomy. This one is a work in progress and has not been added to in quite some time.

 

Are you wondering how you can help me make the Learning Genome Project a reality? ¬†Tweet, blog, send it as a story tip to news organizations, donate, send it to family/friends/colleagues/acquaintances. ¬†Buy the Bloom’s images above in the Poster version. ¬†Thank you for all of your help and support!

Transforming Education in 40 Days: A Call to Action

*** If you need the cliff notes version of this post, skip down to the Call to Action section!

Last year I had a “hunch” about learning…specifically about curriculum. ¬†That hunch turned into a full fledged idea and a mission to do better for kids. ¬†Everywhere. ¬†Along the line I met some truly incredible people who taught me things I didn’t know how to do before. ¬†Like wire framing (thanks @ianchia), and pitching ideas (thanks @houseofgenius), and how to go about picking up programmers (thanks @toma_bedolla). ¬†Now I’m ready to share the culmination of all this work with you.

This isn’t just a post to tell you about what I’m doing, it is a call to action for everyone (yes, even you). ¬†It is a request for you to join me in this mission in whatever form that may take.

I have a vision: to make personalized learning a reality for EVERY child. 

I know, it is big.  It is also doable.

For those who are new to following me, here was my original “hunch” written on my other blog, Dreams of Education:

“The problem with curriculum and textbooks is that they complete thoughts. ¬†Curriculum and textbooks give the impression that learning has an end. ¬†That when you have made it from cover to cover, the job is done. ¬†I know in my own schooling this was true, I thought that school was teaching me what was important and that anything outside of the curriculum wasn‚Äôt important or relevant to my life‚Ķwouldn‚Äôt they have included it otherwise? ¬†How did curriculum get this way? ¬†Well, people realized that there was no possible way to cover every facet of learning, so they stripped it down to what they thought was important. ¬†The problem? What is important to you may not be what is important to me. ¬†What‚Äôs more, something that is very important to me may have been cut all together so I don‚Äôt even get the chance to know that it is important to me. ¬†Humans tend to like things that are definable, we like things that we can put into a neat, orderly box and carry out in a predictable way. ¬†It feels safe and manageable. ¬†This is what led me to the following hunch:

What if curriculum was more flexible? ¬†What if curriculum/schools/learning looked more like Pandora. ¬†If you aren‚Äôt familiar with Pandora, it is an online radio station that plays the music that it thinks you will like. ¬†You type in an artist or song and it creates a customized radio station just for you. ¬†It is remarkably accurate. ¬†Pandora almost never gets it wrong for me. ¬†It is like they have a direct line to my brain and can predict what song I would like to hear next. ¬†When it is wrong, I can give the song a thumbs down and it apologizes profusely for the error and promises never to play that song again on my station. ¬†The other thing I love about Pandora: I can have multiple radio stations. ¬†Because sometimes I really couldn‚Äôt think of anything in the world better than Frank, Dean, and Sammy; but other times ¬†I also want a little Timberlake, Whitestripes, or Bangles. ¬†What if curriculum looked like that? ¬†What if learning happened as a result of typing in one subject or topic that a student was enamored with and a completely personalize learning journey began playing out for them? ¬†What if students were led through a journey that was completely customized? ¬†What if they had several stations mapped out for them?”

I believe this is possible.  I believe it is within our reach to create a completely personalized learning experience to every unique child.  I believe that we can honor humanity instead of treating our kids like widgets in a factory.  I believe that teachers should be teachers, focused on the needs and development of the child instead of teaching the masses through scripted curriculum.

This is The Learning Genome Project.

The Learning Genome Project will empower teachers and parents to become engineers of learning by providing each individual student the exact content they need, at the exact moment they need it.  The Learning Genome will enable students to explore the process of inquiry, experimentation, discovery and problem solving.  Instead of learning how to pass the next test, we will enable students to construct meaning and learn how to transfer that meaning to new life context.  At the hub, the Learning Genome is a platform that aggregates resources and, using a series of algorithms, provide recommendations of the BEST resources to meet the individual learning needs of a specific child.  The Learning Genome creates those serendipitous moments of finding just the right learning tool to meet the needs of children at the right time.

Much like Pandora finds that perfect piece of music, the Learning Genome will find the perfect piece of learning material to aid the student in learning. ¬†The key to the Learning Genome’s success is crowd sourcing. ¬†I will be drawing on educators around the world (that’s you!) to help me tag curriculum, books, lessons, videos, apps, websites and other educational content. ¬†This collection of tagged content lives in the¬†centralized¬†“cloud” and wil allow users around the world to find and access materials that best suit student needs. ¬†By gathering information about the individual student’s learning style preferences, multiple intelligence strengths, social/emotional levels, interests and passion, the Learning Genome can help teachers to create customized learning maps for each individual. ¬†This portion will be free. Every child deserves a unique learning experience.

In addition to the Learning Genome Hub (the aggregate), the site will include a complete Student Information System, planning tools, e-portfolios, e-learning, individual learning plans, assessment and blogging tools.  All of these will work seamlessly together for you go-to for learning and planning.

Changing the world here.

Call to Action

So…how can you help? ¬†I’m glad you asked!

1.  Learn more about the Learning Genome at indiegogo.

2. Please consider investing in this mission (see the awesome perks that includes below).

3.  Blog about the Learning Genome with a link back to the indiegogo campaign (be sure to link to those posts you write in the comments below!)

4. Tweet about this project…a lot. ¬†Let’s completely take over the Internet with tweets about the Learning Genome and taking over education for kids! Please make sure to link back to the indiegogo campaign so that others can learn about it! Use the hashtag #standagain (because after all, we are helping children “stand again” in their learning)

5. Offer your time as a Learning Genome Content tagger or beta tester

6.  Mention us on Facebook and like us on Facebook!

7.  Did I mention spread the word? Seriously, that is SO helpful!  You never know who might see that tweet and drop a couple thousand (or more) to make this project go!

8.  Time is of the essence.  I have 40 days starting NOW to make this happen.  eeek!  I need your help!

So, what are the perks to helping with this project?  

$5 ¬†gets your name on the Learning Genome Change Makers page. ¬†You are changing education. That makes you a big deal. ¬†I want everyone to know what a big deal you are! ¬†I know many of you don’t think that your $5 can do anything. ¬†Wrong. ¬†According to my cluster map, I have hundreds of thousands of visits to this blog. ¬†If each of you pitches in…we all win fast!

$10 Remember all those cool Bloom’s Taxonomy posters I made? ¬†This campaign is now the ONLY place you can get them. ¬†These are 8.5″ x 11″ versions of the poster.

$30 Learning Genome beta tester. You get the inside scoop and ability to play before ANYONE else.  I know, pretty cool.

$60 EXCLUSIVE A full size large-format print of my Bloomin’ Peacock mailed to you. ¬†That awesome little Peacock looks even better large. ¬†Did I mention this is the ONLY place you will get a big version of this?

$500 Even more EXCLUSIVE ¬†you get all of my Bloom’s re-imagine posters in the large format. ¬†Perfect for your classroom, library or as a gift to your favorite teachers.

$1000  My Searching for daVinci webinar for your school.  What better way to spend your professional development dollars than learning how to create a daVinci like culture of learning at your school?  Worth it!

$5000 For my corporate friends who want to see their logo in lights as a company that supports education and changing the world.  If you have an education company, The Learning Genome Project will be the place to be seen.

 

We have $85,000 to raise. ¬†It sounds like a big number. ¬†We can do it together. ¬†I figured if I am going to lean on crowdsourcing to transform education, the funding should be crowdsourced too. ¬†How awesome will it be to join together as an education community to say, together we transformed the way learning is done. ¬†We changed things for every child in the world. ¬†Yeah, it’s big.