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Bright Spots in Education

Page history last edited by Chris Jones 11 years, 7 months ago

What's Ecosys? It's a community working on K12 Possibilities.  Visit our frontpage or check-out our anniversary framing here.


One way that we're seeking to better understand the problems in Education is to surface and explore the many bright spots.  Included would be schools, programs, initiatives, or reforms that appear to be working, if only on a local basis.  It's a way that we hope to cut through the complexity of our social ecosystems.


Here's a quick summary of where we're focusing, with links to supporting information.  Have a bright spot to add, or a request for focus?  Let us know!


Bright Spots covered to date:

01. Alberta CN Engaged EDU Stakeholders link2 link3 link4 link5-Gov link6-Unions source: Sean

02. Sugata Mitra.  Mitra's TED Talk  TAKEAWAYS from 12/15 9pET.  source: Becky

03. AVID FRAMING & TAKEAWAYS source: Michael & Becky - January 2011

04. Ridgefield CT HS Offering 3yr Science Research NYT '01 re: Dr.Pavlica TAKEAWAYS from 5/15 8pET challenge: C8:STEM source: Jacob - May 2011

05. SLA Capstone Program source: Diana Laufenberg - Aug 2011

06. Finland Insights source: Michael, Becky - Atlantic article - TAKEAWAYS from 1/15/12 Jan 2012

07. Project H Design in Bertie County, NC Emily Philloton via TED 2010 source: Jenna - May 2012

08. Spectacular Things: An Urban Innovation via Brian D. Schultz Jenna & Michael explore When Innovation can Scale - August 2012

09. CMS, Charter & Private Schools Seek Common Ground, by Ann Doss Helms source: Chris - December 2012


Nominated Bright Spots (future discussion):

01. Harlem Children's Zone source?

02. OHSU: LMS at Open HS of Utah source: Michael & Becky

03. NCVPS: NC Virtual Public Schools: Hybrid Learning at Statewide Level sources: Michael & Becky

04. Cincinatti Bell & Taft HS. Business-Ed Partnership on CBS News source: Jenna

05. Video Games in Classrooms source? 

06. Urban Schools that might not seem bright on their face source: Bill

07. Mobile Learning at St. Mary's City Schools sources: JerryScott Newcomb

08. Global trends (rankings by nation) source: Bill

09. China Insights & Strategies source: Jenna

10. Personal Learning Networks (YouTube)  source: Jenna 

11. IDEO Social Innovation Idea Hub and OpenIDEO source: KJWalters

12. Critical Thinking Consortium w/ intro materials & newsletter courtesy Bruce Beairsto

13. A Better Chance via Jacob



Selection Criteria.  


General criteria for selection would reflect innovation on 3 of the 4 categories listed, with a preference for near term solutions that are beginning to prove viable.  While not all innovations will scale, some of them, with modifications, might.  The important thing is to bring an open mind to the collaborative evaluation of these ideas, to avoid the pitfalls of negative thinking.  If we find ourselves saying "this will never scale" or "it's been tried before" then we're applying filters. Challenge that thinking. We need to give interesting ideas more time to germinate.


Here are some BRIGHT SPOT questions we will use get at the ecosystem issues - 


Q1. What are most unique, breakthrough aspects of solution, in terms of new, useful learning patterns & #edu outcomes?

Q2. Is solution applicable to mainstream education? Why or why not?

Q3. What challenges would prevent mainstream integration?

Q4. What changes or enhancements might lead to ability to scale & broader applicability?


We will constantly be watching for additional bright spots in education and will post links from this page. In subsequent weeks we'll drill down into them, to see what useful patterns we can discover.  




Tweets on this topic:

@GWoodJCG 9/21 on favorable adaptation

@ToughLoveforX 9/21 on finding what's working


and a couple more, pasted here -


9/22 9pET.  We need to explore ideas that are portable, that work in multiple locations & contexts. And it's very important to learn how to specify & measure results.  Seeking "lateral innovation" across "new locals" to tip viable ideas and fan solid practice .  One test: what is required of students (skills, knowledge, aptitude) to make the Bright Spot work? - Sean, Bill


9/22 9:30pET. Can best practices be portable? First, need definitions. Believe approach can be ported, if defined w/ sufficient generality. - David, Chris, Jenna



Background reading:

Complexity in Organizations: Finding Patterns That Work by Chris Jones


Comments (1)

Michael J said

at 9:35 am on Sep 23, 2010

Nice work.

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