I’m currently enrolled in an MBA program in sustainable business and am supposed to be writing a paper right now for my class. Thanks to my professor, I have been sent on a stimulating journey of discovery that led me to (a) find kindred spirits in Colorado; (b) admiration for a true visionary; and (c) new ideas for how we can use technology to spread ANEO.
All of this because my professor sent my classmates and me a link to a video on YouTube (see link #1 below — but please keep reading first). The statistics about population, education and workforce presented in it are stunning. Since I am procrastinating from writing my paper, I decided to watch the video at link #2 and then I got really excited. It is about our Education Works program on speed, and concludes with an invitation to join a global network of educators and citizens talking about how to transform education in the 21st Century (check out previous blog posts for info on EducationWorks). Education Works is an infant network in Northeast Ohio of business, education, civic and funding leaders dedicated to trying different things in education to move the needle forward on 21st Century Skills. The final leg of my procrastination journey led me Karl Fisch’s blog (he’s the visionary behind all these videos) where I found video #3. In this video, Karl delivers a commencement speech for the graduating high school class of 2020, in which he talks about how technology has transformed education over the last 13 years. (And I don’t mean changed — I mean totally transformed, as in, nothing like you know it today — NOTHING like you know it today.)
Plain Dealer Reporter Tom Ott took a deeper look into what Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson wants to see when he recently made a call for a more regional approach to education. The mayor said he wasn’t so much interested in consolidation as in increasing collaboration and sharing.
There are many things our region’s school districts could do differently to reduce costs and increase learning in the classroom. Down in Wayne County, one superintendent serves two separate school districts. Another approach that is being used to varying degrees throughout the region is the development of P-16 councils which bring together educators and other stakeholders to align education from the pre-school level all the way through college. The Stark Education Partnership has operated a P-16 council for 20 years and among its goals is to elevate high school graduation rates in Stark County to 100%.
In 2001 just two districts in the county had a graduation rate above 95%. By 2007, 12 districts had surpassed 95%. And the graduation rate in the Canton City schools went up to 73% from 58.8%.
Those results show what can happen when a county rallies behind the cause of education. What would the results be if our entire region rallied behind the cause?
OneCommunity, a nonprofit that provides broadband and other IT infrastructure to education, government and nonprofits in Northeast Ohio, has rolled out a plan to place 50,000 refurbished computers in our region’s schools over the next five years. The computers would come from area corporations and organizations. Learn more about the program.
The idea is to connect these computers to the OneClassroom initiative that provides teachers with easy access to a vast array of online resources from local and global institutions. Because the computers would access applications and programs hosted by OneCommunity, the school systems won’t have to maintain software on the individual machines.
In this story on Cleveland.com, OneCommunity president Scot Rourke says: “We’re trying to inspire kids through technology so they can continue their education and be prepared for industries that need more people, like the health-care industry,” Rourke said. “Local employers are looking for the best and the brightest, and hopefully they will come from right here in Northeast Ohio.”
Growing the next generation of entrepreneurs is vital if our region is going to continue to prosper and Gary Schoeniger and his partners at the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative Foundation (ELIF) has a plan on how to help — teach entrepreneurship skills to high school students.
ELIF announced today its plan to sign up high schools to offer the ELIF curriculum that Schoeniger and others are developing off of earlier work they did for Cisco Systems. ELIF has an interesting model of identifying “champions” who raise $25,000 to introduce the curriculum into the high school of their choice. It’s a way to build grass-roots support for the ELIF program. Are you prepared to be a champion?
You can check out more on the organizations web site or, if you are a registered user to this site, you can download the PDF below.
A group of 35+ leaders from across Northeast Ohio, referred to as the Education Works Leadership Council, took a bold step in identifying three pilot programs they will support that will lead to a more effective education system focused on truly preparing our learners for success. Guided by their self-defined purpose statement,
“The Education Works Leadership Council will transform the community’s aspirations for learning
and achievement in NEO. We will actively partner with the regional community to identify and foster the skills necessary for all people to become thriving members of a global society. We will communicate this vision and encourage new, innovative strategies for education. We will know we have been successful when educational expectations and achievement in the region show continual improvement.”
The Leadership Council will turn its work in 2009 from planning to action on their three projects:
- Exploding the Obstacles” to Inclusive Student-centric Learning:
a Community Action Research Project
- Develop “Critical Thinking at Work” through the Liberal Arts
- Create the “Education Works Top Ten” – a celebration and honor
program for the most successful and innovative school/work
programs in the region
Check out the attached file to learn more about Education Works, an initiative sponsored and funded by the Cleveland Foundation, the Gund Foundation, the Jennings Foundation and the Fund for Our Economic Future. (You have to be logged in and registered on this site to see the file.)
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# Submitted by ECPat on Thu, 12/18/2008 – 02:40.
So many of our schools have responded to NCLB by increasingly using practice tests instead of teaching. How can we move past the fear to be ready to make positive changes, rather than negative changes?
I worked at a private school where they had lots of computers and a few white-boards. These can be quite expensive for public school systems. Instead of or in addition to this, podcast and webcast could be made of class material, replayable on iPod devices and computers. If a student didn’t get it the first time, they can re-listen. The recorded lessons could be put on a web site or a school computer, burned to CD’s, put on jump drives and student iPods.
A listen anywhere/discuss in class combo might even cut down on physical classroom time.
A cottage industry to develop podcast/webcast coursework could be developed. Besides cutting the cost of having a body in a classroom, the cost of printed materials could be trimmed. And because lessons are both portable and re-playable, they can be reinforced in a students’ head. And if you are concerned about students not reading, there is always ebooks, the pdf format is an industry standard on any computer.
These things free up time that could be spent teaching kids how to find and utilize all the info they have to deal with.
Then concerning computer training, let Microsoft keep their pay through the nose software applications. Unless you are teaching kids advance programming features of MS Office, open source AbiWord or Open Office.org will do just fine to teach basic word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database and vector art skills, transferable, guaranteed. Save the pro-ware for preparing to enter the work world.
Only the tools are industry standard not the brand-name. Schools are about learning to use the tools, not product indoctrination. If you want the kids to be open and creative and flexible, teachers and administrators must be that way first. Schools are afraid of open source ways, yet claim to be the realm of teachers and learners.
Mr. Johnson, I agree completely with your comments and assessments. One concern I have is the lack of focused professional development in NE Ohio to explore how technology can support learning. Fear 2.0 is the rule of the day and many teachers cannot fathom the idea that students using computers can actually learn from and with each other. The potential is so enormous yet lost entirely on a public school bureaucracy that lacks both imagination and courage to explore these exciting areas. Doing so requires letting go of power – not only of monies but of knowledge. It is time for the Governor to call for a total reevaluation of how Educational Services Center across the State provide professional development. The results will not be pretty.
If Northeast Ohio is to succeed in the global economy it must be able to prepare, attract and retain world-class talent. One program that could help the region achieve that goal goes by the very bureaucratic sounding moniker “EB-5.” Under the EB-5 program immigrants willing to invest $500,000 in economic development projects in a region are eligible to obtain visas to live in the United States.
Philadelphia has been using the program for five years to attract more than $200 million in foreign investment for projects that range from manufacturing plants to reastaurants. You can learn about some the deals done in that community here.
The Cleveland Council on World Affairs has been interested in finding an economic development project that might be an attractive applicant to join the federal program. And the Wooster Growth Corp. believes they have just such a project in the BioHio Research Park, which is being developed adjacent to the world-class research center operated by Ohio State University in that Wayne County community. Wooster Growth is an economic development organization created by the city of Wooster to spur economic development. It is working with OSU to develop BioHio at the Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center.
The OARDC is working with Wooster Growth and the Wayne Economic Development Council to attract companies to the park that are interested in taking advantage of the world-class research done at the center. Wooster Growth is hoping to build a $7.5 million building in the park, with some of the financing coming from foreign investors participating in the EB-5 program, according to this story written by Bryan Schaaf of the Wooster Daily Record.
Mark Santo of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs told me it will likely take more than a year to get federal approval for the project. But he’s optimistic approval can be obtained, and if it is, he believes more projects in Northeast Ohio could be funded through the EB-5 program.
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