Sunday, November 16, 2014

Real World Ready

This past September I was honored to have been asked to speak at TEDxBurnsvilleED. The theme for all of the TEDx talks was Real World Ready. When looking at the structure and function of the majority of schools across the globe it was quite evident to me that students are being prepared for a world that no longer exists. Compounding that issue is the fact that school traditionally works better for the adults than the kids who are there to get an education.  When there is more of a focus on conformity, control, rules, test scores, maintaining the status quo, and rigid schedules kids lose. School and life should should no longer be separate entities.


Image credit: http://educationalparadigms.blogspot.com/2010/05/schooling-education-and-relevance-part.html

As educators we need to begin to implement a bold vision for change to flip the concept of education and focus on relevant learning experiences that actually prepare students for the real world. School should allow students to follow their passions, use real world tools to solve real world problems, develop and apply essential skill sets, think divergently, create artifacts of learning to demonstrate conceptual mastery, and foster creativity.  Schools need to work for students if the goal is to prepare them for the real world. Below is my brief TEDx talk on the topic.


I would love to hear your thoughts.  Do you think I am on the right track? What else do schools need to do to prepare students for success in the real world?

13 comments:

  1. I strive to create real-world learning in my 2nd grade classroom, but I am surrounded by those unwilling and afraid of leaving the comfort zone of conformity, control, rules, and test scores. While some complain about the testing and the effort involved in prepartng students for the test, many would have a hard time making the effort required for implementing real-world environments. One little classroom doesn't make a difference in a school. Change will not occur until administrators have the vision to implrement widespread change. Unfortunately many will not change unless told to. To get true buy-in, administrators must sell their vision and then allow input from all partieis involved - inlcuding the students.

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  2. You must be the change that you wish to see in your school and beyond. One classroom can certainly make a difference, especially to the students in that classroom. Administrators, like I was at one time, are so fixated on sustaining a system that they do not even realize is ineffective. You and your students can be a guiding light to help administrators go down a different, yet better path. Never underestimate the impact that you can/do have. Administrators do need to change, but the need passionate people like yourself to help them realize it.

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  3. Even in preservice, I see this same mindset evident in how my professors are teaching me. Most of my professors distrust technology and I feel like that is passed on to us as future teachers.

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    1. Bee - Unfortunately higher ed is doing the education profession no favors. I saw this when I interviewed potential new teachers and was surprised by their lack of pedagogical knowledge when it came to integrating edtech. Pre-service teachers need to take matters into their own hands to not only account for the deficiencies in their prep programs, but also to better prepare them for job interviews.

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  4. I think it extends beyond the use of technology. Students need to be allowed to be creative and think critically. The push for accountability at all costs has painted education into a tight corner.

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  5. Eric I liked the post, and the TEDx talk really took it home. You know many times I read your pieces and my initial reaction is, "Can this really happen?" and then after about a second I snap out of it and realize that folks like you "are" doing it!
    It was interesting, as I was just starting to watch your talk my daughter asked me a question. She apologized to me when she realized that I had to stop what I was doing to help her. Then it hit me. That was your talk. School works for the adults not the kids!She shouldn't be apologizing to me to because I was watching some video. I finished watching the talk later that evening. But it was a cool moment that kind of represented what you were getting across. This is their time! Let's start acting like it.

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    1. 5 years ago I would have not only said it was impossible, but have done everything in my power to prevent these shifts, changes, transformations. If we don't change...and soon....students will begin to give the two thumbs down to school.

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  6. You're right on here! I see the desire in my students' eyes everyday. They want to learn differently from before. They want to now ask questions, discover, and share with the world. The problem comes when a school wants to teach 20th century skills to children born & being raised in the Internet Age.

    This truth shouldn't just be in American education, but it needs to go viral. My students here in China agree with you. Many of them have mentioned the same things you've shared.

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    1. Imagine how frustrating it is for kids who want to learn, but are forced into an environment that bores them to death.

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  7. Hi Eric. Good stuff. You continue to inspire. Would you please do me a favor and change the image credit? I created it for a blog post I wrote in May, 2010. Many thanks.... Andrew Garcia @berkshirecat http://bit.ly/1vu63ij

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  8. I agree with most of the comments, yet believe that there is a huge gap between the demands for schools to provide instruction to students in this area and higher education, graduating their students lacking the skills to achieve it. New teachers are overwhelmed the first few years with their jobs. How can we expect them to seek for the PD or Courses, furthermore, they are still paying for the outdated degree. Higher education must catch up with these demands, if we want to move forward faster, as we are already behind.

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  9. Zaida,

    You hit the nail on the head! Higher education is doing K-12 no favors with their continual support of archaic practices when it comes to teacher preparation. I know when I was interviewing new teaching candidates that this fact reared it's ugly head time and time again.

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