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Posts Tagged ‘21st Century Learning’

The Goddard School Visited Capitol Hill to Advocate 21st Century Learning

Joe Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), Craig Bach, VP of Education at GSI, and representatives from The Goddard Schools located in Ladera Ranch, CA (Mike Smithers); Mooresville, NC (Barbra Bryan); Concord Township, OH (Tina Turk) and Redmond, WA (Jeff and Shauna Barison) attended a Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) event titled “Closing the Skills Gap.” This event was held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 28.

The meeting consisted of opening remarks made by the co-chairs of a bipartisan Congressional 21st Century Skills Caucus, a panel discussion with representatives from four Exemplar schools, including Barbra Bryan, recognition for the latest members of the 21st Century Learning Exemplars, including the Schools in Ladera Ranch, Mooresville, Concord Township and Redmond, and case studies from 20 Exemplar schools.

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The P21 Exemplar Program, instituted in 2013, identifies and showcases schools that are equipping students with the 21st century skills they need to succeed in college, career and life.

There are also five other Goddard Schools with P21 Exemplar status: Cranberry Township, PA (Dina and Matt Speranza); Fort Mill, SC and Rock Hill, SC (Bill and Amy Strickland); Hendersonville, TN (Leisa Byars; Trevor and Sonia Pryce); and Cedar Park, TX (Butch and Maria Aggen). Only 12 preschools nationwide have achieved P21 Exemplar status, and 75% of them are Goddard Schools!

Exemplar Schools are selected through a rigorous application process that includes site visits. Each Exemplar joins a national network that shares best practices to further hone their practice of 21st century teaching and learning.

The group was addressed by Congressman Dave Loebsack (2nd Congressional District, IA) and Congressman Ryan Costello (6th Congressional District, PA) who are co-chairs of the Congressional 21st Century Skills Caucus. The event also featured a panel discussion titled “Closing the Skills Gap: Stories from the Field.” Several Congressional representatives also joined the full group after the ceremony to speak with their constituents.

Five Ways to Encourage STEAM Learning

Asian mom and girl kid playing with blocks. Vintage effects and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) has become a vital part of early childhood education. STEAM concepts help prepare children for life in the 21st century. After all, STEAM-related jobs make up one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. economy (Baird-Remba, Guey, & Lubin, 2013). This is expected to increase over time as children eventually join the workforce. Here are five ways you can encourage STEAM learning at home.

  1. Take a field trip. Museums, zoos, aquariums, libraries and even public parks provide many opportunities to introduce STEAM subjects. Be sure to engage your child, ask her what she would like to see and ask whether she would like to learn more about what she has seen.
  2. Watch STEAM-related TV shows and movies. While screen time should not be solely relied upon for education, there are many ways it can help enhance your child’s learning experience. Things like documentaries and educational programming may strengthen your child’s understanding of STEAM subjects.
  3. Conduct experiments. Many fun and easy science experiments can be done at home with simple household items. You can find some ideas here. You can also help your child keep a journal of the experiments she completes and record what she learns from each one.
  4. Encourage questions. Children are naturally inquisitive, often asking “why?” or “how?” Following this thread of curiosity may lead to a STEAM subject which interests your child. If you don’t know the answer to your child’s question, research the topic with him.
  5. Ask your child what she would like to be when she grows up. Many careers are tied to STEAM learning. Help your child find out more about the field she wants to pursue and what she needs to learn to get there.

References

Baird-Remba, R., Guey, L., & Lubin, G. (5 June 2013). 14 US Industries That Will Boom In The Next Decade. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/americas-fastest-growing-industries-2013-6

Technology

As we know, technology is changing at an unbelievable rate. When we were little, modern devices were just a dream.Smart Table Now, technology makes more inventions possible, and it is constantly changing. Technology is very exciting, but have you ever asked what it is?

According to Merriam-Webster, technology is the “practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.” (“Technology,” 2015) Technology makes things so much easier and more convenient. Think of the items that have been created in science to make life easier and better. Devices, such as pacemakers and bionic legs, have been invented to improve our quality of life. Devices can also help make car rides with children more pleasurable or calmer, and other devices can make cooking easier. As technology improves, schools will include more technology at every level of education. These may include interactive boards, computers, digital cameras and tablets just to name a few.

However, remember that even though technology makes things easier, real hands-on experiences cannot be replaced. Technology cannot replace the feel of hugs, dirty hands, paint, and the wind in your hair; the sights of the brightness of the sun or a child’s smile; or the smell of hot dogs cooking on the grill. Therefore, remember to use technology to enhance learning at home, not to replace real-life experiences.

Technology [Def. 1a]. (2015).  In Merriam-Webster., Retrieved November 5, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/technology.

Hungry Minds: How Curiosity Drives Young Learners

Susan Magsamen is the Senior Vice President of Early Learning at global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt She is a member of the Educational Advisory Board for the Goddard School and senior advisor to The Science of Learning Institute and Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University.  This piece was originally published on HMH’s blog.

“Curiouser and Curiouser” cried Alice after she ate the cake, and then suddenly shot up in height “like the largest telescope, ever! Good-bye feet” she exclaimed!

For some children, that iconic scene, shortly after Alice lands in Wonderland, is their introduction to the term “curiosity.”  But for us — well, take a moment and see what comes to mind when you consider curiosity…

I recently did a random “man on the street” survey, asking for single-word responses, and found that people associate curiosity with many things. I heard the words necessary, intelligent, spark, engaged, open-minded, open-ended, creative detective, and seeker.

Personally, I’ve been consumed with curiosity for decades, believing that it is the secret sauce to learning and to a fulfilling life.  So what is curiosity?

Einstein’s comment, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious,” provokes even more questions:  Is curiosity a skill or a talent? Is it innate or learned? Can it be taught or cultivated? How does it shape how we learn, especially early learners? What is the primary role of curiosity?

Regardless of how curious we are about curiosity, it is difficult to study. However, contemporary neuroscience has revealed some insights.  In a study published in the October issue of the journal Neuron, psychologist and researcher Charan Ranganath at the University of California, Davis explains that the dopamine circuit in the hippocampus registers curiosity.

“There’s this basic circuit in the brain that energizes people to go out and get things that are intrinsically rewarding,” Ranganath explains. “This circuit lights up when we get money, or candy. It also lights up when we’re curious.” When the circuit is activated, our brains release dopamine, which gives us a high. “The dopamine also seems to play a role in enhancing the connections between the cells that are involved in learning.”

Ranganath’s research, covered in this fascinating piece in Mindshift, gives us a working definition of curiosity, as an intrinsic motivation to learn. It also presents us with an exciting challenge – how can we create learning environments and experiences that will engage young children and ignite their innate curiosity?

The early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers and communities to encourage curiosity. And it really matters. Curiosity increases knowledge and knowledge makes learning easier.

Nurturing curiosity in ourselves and in young children is easy to do. Here are my top ten ideas for the home and the classroom:

  • Slow down: In an age of immediacy, slow things down and encourage discovery. “I am curious about,” or “just out of curiosity” are great conversation starters.
  • Don’t have all the answers: Declaring you don’t know something, but that you want to find out together is an invitation for curiosity.
  • Put kids in the driver’s seat: In classroom activities or at home, let kids make decisions – this leads to uncertainty quickly and will encourage exploration.
  • Get real: Curiosity can’t be nurtured in the abstract – it’s messy.  Get kids investigating a topic or solving a mystery.
  • Delve deep: Hold your own Boring Conference in class – it’s a fantastic one-day celebration of the obvious and the overlooked, subjects that become absolutely  fascinating when examined more closely.
  • Encouragement matters: Acknowledge a question by saying “That is a wonderful or interesting question.”
  • Talk shop: What, why, how? Let kids explore how things are made. “How Things Work” is a great example.
  • Identify role models: Curiosity is also highly contagious.  If you set the example for being curious you will be amazed at how the world changes. Also, seek out others doing interesting things.  Chances are they are using their curious natures to guide them.
  • Practice: Make a list of things you want to know more about and carve out a little time to explore.

As for curiosity being the secret for lifelong learning in the 21st century, the “New York Times” magazine recently profiled productive people from various fields, including politics, art and science, who were 80+ years old. When asked by the “New York Times” what kept him intuitive, architect Frank Gehry, still going strong at 85, said “…. stay curious about everything.”

Teach. Play. Learn.: Inspiring Young Minds for the 21st Century

“In order to thrive in today’s world, children need to be equipped with 21st century skills. P21 applauds The Goddard School’s focus on developing these skills early so that students can be successful in and out of school.” – Helen Soule, Executive Director of P21

From January 13 through February 15, 2014, Goddard School preschools across the country are celebrating 21ST century learning and innovation! The Goddard School has partnered with TINKERTOY®, an organization that manufactures educational STEM-focused toys for children three and older, for our national Teach. Play. Learn. event. Stop by your nearest Goddard School to imagine, create and build with your children and see 21st century learning skills in action!

Click here for more event information and to locate and contact a participating Goddard School near you for event dates and times. And, as part of our partnership with TINKERTOY, families and friends of The Goddard School can enjoy a 20% discount at knex.com now through March 31, 2014 with coupon code goddard20.