TEDxManhattanBeach – Tom Vander Ark – Innovations In Education

Translator: Denise RQ
Reviewer: Capa Girl Good morning Manhattan Beach! Great to be back! That was fun Barry! I appreciate that,
and what I hope is a great follow-up on chat about the power
of personal digital learning! I met these three young gentlemen
in the slums of Delhi last fall, and you can see they’re
bright-eyed extraordinary young people and very eager
to have their picture taken with this tall white guy
wandering the streets. And I had a great conversation with them. They spoke reasonably good English,
they go to a Government school — but here’s the problem.
They have huge class sizes and the teachers don’t show up
on a very regular basis. So, they are not really getting
the preparation that they need and so, as fun as it was,
to see the fire in their eyes, I thought to myself:
“There’s not a very good chance that these three guys are gonna connect
to the idea economy.” But here’s the good news today:
you and I can change that! So, before they are in high-school,
we can create a terrific high-school experience for kids like that in Delhi! We have challenges here
in the United States as well, almost a third of our kids
don’t graduate. We’ve made a little bit
of progress in the 15 years that I’ve been working on that problem,
but another third don’t graduate from high-school, ready for collage or career.
So, basically two thirds of U.S. kids don’t get what they need or deserve
to be ready for the idea economy. And again, what I am excited about,
is right in front of us, we have a chance
to do better, a lot better. There are three main reasons that I am
so excited about personal digital learning, three variables that I think will change
not just education, but the world. The first one is customization. So, for almost 15 years,
we’ve been able to vary rate, time and location of learning. When I was a school superintendent
we launched the first K-12 on-line school in the United States and we gave students
the ability to learn when, where and how they wanted to. But it was still a single slog
through a body of content, sort of a one-way path, right? What’s changing now is customization. This is a picture of
“School Of One” in New York. It’s an exciting math pilot program
and every student has a unique experience. So, they walk into this big double classroom
where they have a double period and they’ll see their name on the screen
that looks like an airport terminal that shows you what gate to go to, and that’ll tell them which station
they’re gonna start at, and some of them are learning
on-line with a tutor, and some of them are learning at a game, and these students,
right in the foreground are in a small group instruction
with a teacher. Let me describe that! So, a teacher has prepared a lesson
for six to eight students but here’s what’s different than today: each of the students at that table,
is ready for that lesson! It’s the right lesson,
on the right day, in the right mode. And what a gift that is
for kids and teachers, right? If they can walk in a room
and know that they’re ready to meet each other! Teachers feel much more successful
in this kind of an environment. And at the beginning of the day,
the teachers get to look at this dashboard and see the experiences recommended by
a smart algorithm, and they can apply
professional judgment to the experiences
that kids are gonna have! They can jump in as they’re doing — up here
and help out in a real time fashion. So, it’s an exciting example
of how customization will improve learning per hour. That’s the net benefit! That more kids are gonna learn
more per hour when we teach them in the right way, at the right level,
in the right modality. The second benefit is motivation.
We’re gonna learn so much from casual game developers
in particular. This is a picture of Manga High
which is a set of games developed by a casual game developer
named Toby Rowland who sold the game company, retired
and began developing educational games. So, like Salman Khan who’s developed
a terrific resource, this is a game based version
of learning math. There are other visual approaches to math
that I think for many students are going be so motivating! The net benefit will be that more students
will learn more hours per day and more will be able to extend
the day and the year because we’ll be a better job
of engaging kids in learning the way they want to learn. So, customization, motivation — the big three is equalization. It’s the transition that Barry talked about,
to one-to-one computing. See all these kids in the South Bronx,
see all the backpacks there? The crazy thing that we do
to middle school kids and loading them up
with this giant backpack full of text books. And it no longer makes sense to do that. It’s now cheaper to give them a tablet,
with great resources and connect every student, like this one, to great content,
to great teachers, 24/7, 365. So, the promise of equalization
is that will lift the floor, that will close the digital divide for good
and that every student, every day will have access
to terrific educational opportunities. So, let’s talk about how
this will happen. On-line learning is growing much faster
that most people think. So students that took an on-line course
in the US last year was about 4 million. By the end of this school year,
by the second semester, it’ll be about 6 million. By next fall, it will be 8 million.
It’s growing at least 50% a year. So, this is happening
much more rapidly than any historical educational reforms
have happened. And what that means is that more students
are learning outside of traditional school, but I don’t think it’ll be
much more than 10 or 15%. Most students are still going
to learn at school but it’ll be learning on-line
at a new kind of school. I call it a ‘blended school.’ Here’s an example,
in an unlikely place. It’s Yuma, Arizona.
This is a little border town, where there is a terrific High School
called “Carpe Diem.” There’s 300 students that learn together
in an environment that mixes on-line and on-site,
sort of the best of both worlds. So, they spend about half of their time
learning on-line, with the support of a group
of lab supervisors, and they spend the other half of their time
in these engaging, Socratic seminars during project-based learning. So, the neat thing for teachers
is that each student has had good academic preparation
for the Socratic seminars and they’re making these two forms
of learning, on-line and on-site, work pretty well together,
it’s a good early example of blending the best of two worlds. Blended learning is different
than Educational Technology. For 20 years, we’ve been layering technology
on how we’ve always done school. But what’s different about
schools, like “Carpe Diem” or “Rocketship Elementary”
in San Jose, is that, for at least
a portion of the day, there’s a shift in delivery
to an on-line environment, and that’s done
to boost learning productivity, but also to make
the school more productive, to allow a different kind
of a staffing model. So, let’s go under the hood
or behind the tablet and talk for 2 minutes about what’s gonna
make customized motivating learning possible. First of all, it’s gonna be these
big content libraries of both open and proprietory content. They’ll be aligned in a lot of cases
with the common core and they’ll sit on top of a social layer, one that looks like
Facebook that allows you to create groups really quickly and has lots of apps,
that tools for teachers and kids. It’ll have a set of aligned services,
that go with it, students’ services, professional development for teachers,
school improvement services, sort of an ecosystem of services. And the exciting thing is
that the 10,000 key stroke day that our kids are headed for,
it’s gonna be captured in a data warehouse and we’ll be able to create
smart recommendation engines that like “School of One” queue up
a set of learning experiences. So, just the right learning experience
for your son or daughter, the right time,
the right mode. And here’s what I think blends
can look like. So, you may or may not have liked
the picture I showed you of “Carpe Diem”, but here’s what
the next “Carpe Diem” will look like. It will be the “School of One”, so think
of a play list on a tablet that your son or daughter has at home,
sort of a customized learning experience that helps them build the knowledge
and skill to participate in something that feels like
expeditionary learning. So, community connected,
project-based, highly social,
highly engaged. That’s the kind of schools
that we ought to be aspiring to. Places that engage hearts and minds
and build knowledge and skills. I met this young lady
in the slums of Nairobi. It’s called Kibera.
There’s about a million people that live in the most dire circumstances
that I’ve ever experienced. The good news is that she attends
a Bridge International Academy. There’s about 50 of these,
super-low cost private schools, they cost about 4 dollars a month
and they’re getting US levels of literacy. But there’s not a High School for her. And I want to build a High School
for this young lady and I think, you and I
have the opportunity to do that. Right around the corner is the potential
using inexpensive tablets and open content and these new low-cost
blended school formats. I think we have the chance
to build this young lady an extraordinary
High School experience, that will connect her
to the idea economy. That’s why I think personal digital learning
is such a big deal. We finally have a realistic chance
of reaching kids, from New York to Nairobi
and from Detroit to Delhi, and creating for every kid on this planet a very effective and engaging
customized learning experience! Thanks! (Applause)

4 thoughts on “TEDxManhattanBeach – Tom Vander Ark – Innovations In Education”

  1. THIS is what I'm excited about!!!! I just finished writing a 15 page paper (could easily have written 50 or more pages! LOL) for my Masters Degree in Education called "Blended Learning: Transformative Education" and I hadn't seen Tom Vander Ark's work (presented here) yet. There is real potential in systematic eclecticism when it engages learners (who have a level of learner 'readiness') with technology. The demands of traditional face-to-face education are somewhat lessened for Instructors/Teachers/Professors on a day to day basis (however, content and activity creation requires a great deal of preparation. But it's doable!), as learners work with, create and evolve their autonomy. 

    Our children are born "digital natives". This paradigm is different to the learning paradigm any of us grew up with. This is evolution at work. Blended Learning provides the perfect catalyst for dynamic change and deliverable content to learners, regardless of geography, personal challenges or schedules. Fusing asynchronous learning with synchronous provides for the creation of a 'learner community' but with all the perks of learner-centered autonomy and academic/technical/scholastic growth.

    I'm soooo excited about blended learning!!!! I'd like to see that young Lady in Nairobi have this kind of learning experience too. WOW.

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