Falling Into Fall Break

I shared this note with my team on our last day before Fall Break. I hope you find encouragement here, as well.

“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
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Fall Break

You may have already figured this out, but Fall Break is my favorite break of the year. We’ve navigated the busyness of beginning a new school year and made some progress toward our goals. For me, this break comes at the perfect time. The weather cools, mornings begin on the back porch with a cup of coffee, and evenings end with a backyard fire. It’s not so much a break as it is a pause—the deep breath before diving into winter. I need this break. You need this break. We all need a moment away.

Blaise Pascal wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Most adults lead very busy lives. Teachers, arguably more so. Rarely do we have a moment during our day to call our own, even if it means we just have the chance to catch our breath.

During the break, I encourage you to find time to call your own. Amidst all the plans we make for fun and family, find some time to hide away from it all. Forget, for a few moments, the demands of the classroom, of testing, of dealing with parents, and the demands of your administration and coaches.

You need rest. Spirit, soul, and body all need a break from time to time to face this madness we call life.

The great Stoic philosopher Seneca said, “The mind must be given relaxation; it will rise improved and sharper after a good break.” Stephen Covey reminds us of the 7th habit of Highly Effective People to “sharpen your saw.” Make sure to take care of yourself. We all did this pretty well during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I fear we may have lost some of these lessons in our return to the world of deadlines and demands.

Please take time for yourself over the break. You won’t regret it.


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Building Strong Relationships with Teachers: A Comprehensive Guide for Instructional Coaches

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As an instructional coach, the ability to foster and maintain strong relationships with teachers is not just a desirable trait; it’s a fundamental necessity. These relationships form the cornerstone of impactful teacher decisions and student growth. The following strategies provide a comprehensive guide to building these vital connections:

1. Acknowledge and Celebrate Successes

Recognizing and applauding the good work that teachers are doing is more than a mere pat on the back. It’s a powerful way to build trust and demonstrate that you are genuinely invested in their success. Regularly highlighting their big and small achievements fosters a positive environment and encourages continuous improvement.

2. Maintain a Student-Centric Approach

Emphasizing that your primary goal is to support teachers in enhancing student learning creates a shared sense of purpose. It aligns your objectives with theirs and underscores that the ultimate focus is on student achievement. This alignment fosters collaboration and ensures all efforts are directed towards a common goal.

3. Understand the Individual Behind the Teacher

Building a relationship goes beyond knowing a teacher’s name and subject area. It involves delving into their values, beliefs, motivations, and personal interests. By understanding what drives them, you can tailor your approach and demonstrate that you see them as unique individuals, not just professionals.

4. Share Your Journey and Vision

Transparency about your own journey, including why you became an instructional coach and what your goals are, creates a connection on a personal level. It helps teachers understand your perspective and shows you are committed to a shared vision of success.

5. Be a Constant Presence

Availability is key to building relationships. Being visible in various school spaces, attending meetings, and regularly checking in with teachers shows that you value their time and are actively engaged in their professional development. It’s not just about being there; it’s about being accessible and approachable[4].

6. Adapt to Individual Needs

Different teachers have different needs, challenges, and learning styles. Learning how to differentiate your approach for each teacher shows empathy and understanding. It builds trust by demonstrating that you recognize their unique circumstances and are willing to adapt your methods to support them effectively.

Conclusion

Building relationships as an instructional coach is a complex and nuanced process that requires time, effort, empathy, and understanding. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach but a dynamic and evolving journey. By implementing these strategies, instructional coaches can create meaningful connections that lead to positive teacher decisions and, ultimately, enhance student growth.


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Top 10 Books for Teachers to Kickstart the New School Year

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As the new school year begins, it’s essential for teachers to equip themselves with the right tools to navigate the challenges ahead. Among these tools, books can be a great source of inspiration, guidance, and self-care. Here are ten books that every teacher should consider reading as they embark on a new academic year.

The Happy Teacher Habits: 11 Habits of the Happiest, Most Effective Teachers on Earth by Michael Linsin

This book provides practical strategies for teachers to maintain positivity and effectiveness in the classroom. Linsin emphasizes the importance of habits in shaping our lives and offers insights on how to develop habits that lead to happiness and success in teaching.

The Happy Teacher Habits: 11 Habits of the Happiest, Most Effective Teachers on Earth
  • Linsin, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages – 04/30/2016 (Publication Date) – JME Publishing (Publisher)

Quote: “Happiness isn’t something that just happens to you. It’s a choice. It’s a decision you make every morning, that you’re going to have a good day.”

Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith

Esquith shares his innovative teaching methods and the extraordinary results they have yielded in his classroom. His passion for teaching and advocating for his students is infectious.

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Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
  • Esquith, Rafe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 243 Pages – 12/18/2007 (Publication Date) – Penguin Books (Publisher)

Quote: “Real success is when a teacher is able to work under the hardest conditions and still turn out to be a great person. That’s real success.”

The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter–One Month at a Time by Jennifer Ashton, M.D.

This book is a must-read for teachers who want to prioritize their health and well-being. Dr. Ashton provides a month-by-month guide to self-care that includes diet, exercise, and mental health strategies.

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The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter–One Month at a Time
  • Ashton M.D., Jennifer (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages – 12/28/2021 (Publication Date) – William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

Quote: “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams Great by Jon Gordon

Gordon’s book is a guide to maintaining positivity and unity within a team, making it a great read for teachers who want to foster a positive learning environment.

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The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams Great (Jon Gordon)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Gordon, Jon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages – 06/13/2018 (Publication Date) – Wiley (Publisher)

Quote: “A positive team is not just about being connected to each other. It’s about being committed to each other.”

Educated by Design: Designing the Space to Experiment, Explore, and Extract Your Creative Potential by Michael Cohen

This book encourages teachers to advocate for creativity in the classroom. Cohen provides a roadmap for designing a creative space that encourages students to explore their potential.

Educated by Design: Designing the Space to Experiment, Explore, and Extract Your Creative Potential
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Cohen, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 248 Pages – 12/31/2018 (Publication Date) – Dave Burgess Consulting, Incorporated (Publisher)

Quote: “Creativity is not just about making ‘stuff’, it’s more importantly about developing a creative thinking mindset.”

The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer

Palmer’s book delves into the heart of the teaching profession, exploring the inner lives of educators. It’s a powerful read for teachers seeking to reconnect with their passion for the profession.

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The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, 20th Anniversary Edition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Palmer, Parker J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – Jossey-Bass (Publisher)

Quote: “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.”

Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom by Meena Srinivasan

Srinivasan offers insights into how mindfulness can help teachers manage stress and foster a peaceful classroom. It’s a practical guide for teachers seeking to achieve work-life balance.

Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness in and out of the Classroom
  • Srinivasan, Meena (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages – 08/10/2014 (Publication Date) – Parallax Press (Publisher)

Quote: “When we cultivate our own mindfulness, we’re actually benefiting our students indirectly because we’re modeling what it looks like to be present.”

The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again by Chase Mielke

Mielke’s book is a lifeline for teachers feeling the strain of burnout. It provides strategies for maintaining enthusiasm for teaching and advocating for the profession.

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The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again
  • Mielke, Chase (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 230 Pages – 03/19/2019 (Publication Date) – ASCD (Publisher)

Quote: “We can’t control the kids or the content or the new initiatives or the old initiatives, but we can control how we think and feel about them.”

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

Miller’s book is a testament to the power of reading and the impact a passionate teacher can have on their students. It’s a must-read for teachers who want to inspire a love of reading in their students.

Quote: “There is no program, no method, no teacher who can create readers. What we can do is provide the conditions that allow reading to happen.”

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

Brown’s book explores the concept of vulnerability and how it can lead to greater connection and a more fulfilling life. It’s a powerful read for teachers who want to foster deeper connections with their students and colleagues.

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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Brené Brown (Author) – Brené Brown (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/26/2018 (Publication Date) – Penguin Audio (Publisher)

Quote: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

Each of these books offers unique insights into the teaching profession, self-care, and maintaining a positive attitude. As you prepare for the new school year, consider adding these books to your reading list. They may provide just the inspiration you need to make this year your best yet.


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How Teachers Are Using ChatGPT in Class

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Larry Ferlazzo shares a round-up of educators who share their unique experiences incorporating AI tools like ChatGPT into their teaching methods.

Mary Beth Hertz, a high school teacher, leverages AI to educate her students about the nuances and biases inherent in artificial intelligence. She encourages her students to interact with ChatGPT, fostering a deeper understanding of AI’s strengths and limitations. In her entrepreneurship class, ChatGPT is used as a tool to refine mission statements and business pitch language.

Paul Wilkinson, a teacher of secondary English and social studies, employs AI to devise learning challenges for his students and provide them with comprehensive feedback. He uses AI to create curriculum-based content, formulate rubrics, and offer personalized feedback to each student. He also designed a reflection assignment to enhance students’ metacognitive skills.

Mick McMurray, a teacher specializing in marketing and entrepreneurship, uses ChatGPT as an assistant for student assignments. He crafted a series of ChatGPT prompts for a high school marketing class project, leading to an engaging “choose your own adventure” reading experience for the students.

Of course, the article underscores that while the use of generative AI in K-12 settings is still emerging, it holds the potential to boost student creativity, enhance writing skills, and provide students with a clear understanding of AI’s limitations. The educators involved believe that when used wisely, AI tools can serve as valuable partners in the learning journey.


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Revolutionizing K-12 Education: The Role of Generative AI Tools

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The world of education, specifically K-12, is on the brink of a significant transformation. The catalyst? Generative AI tools. These tools, such as Large Language Models (LLMs) and ChatGPT, are heralding a new era of automation, promising to reshape how we approach administrative and teaching tasks in schools.

Generative AI tools are a generational leap in what we can automate with software. They are not just about replacing human effort but also about creating entirely new kinds of automation. The potential impact on jobs and people is profound, and the pace of change is rapid. For instance, ChatGPT has already amassed over 100 million users in just six months.

The world of education is no stranger to automation. Over the past two centuries, we’ve seen waves of automation that have eliminated certain jobs while creating new ones. This process, while sometimes disruptive, has ultimately led to increased prosperity and efficiency.

For school administrators and teachers, generative AI tools could automate many tasks, freeing up time for more strategic and student-focused activities. For example, these tools could automate administrative tasks such as scheduling, record-keeping, and communication with parents. They could also assist teachers with tasks such as grading, lesson planning, and even providing personalized learning support for students.

However, the adoption of these tools is not without challenges. The tools that people use to do their jobs are complicated and very specialized, embodying a lot of work and institutional knowledge. Replacing or automating any of these tools and tasks is not trivial. There’s a huge difference between an amazing demo of a transformative technology and something that a big complicated organization can use.

Moreover, while generative AI tools can answer ‘anything’, the answer might be wrong. They are not databases but pattern matchers. They can produce answers that fit the pattern of the question but may not be factually correct. This means that while they can automate many tasks, their outputs still need to be checked.

Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of generative AI tools in K-12 education are immense. They could lead to more efficient administration, more personalized learning, and ultimately, better educational outcomes for students. However, it’s important to remember that these tools are not a magic bullet. They are just another wave of automation, and their successful implementation will require careful planning, training, and adjustment.

In conclusion, generative AI tools hold great promise for automating tasks in K-12 education. However, their adoption will require careful planning and a clear understanding of their capabilities and limitations. As with any new technology, the key to success will be in how well we integrate these tools into our existing systems and processes, and how well we adapt to the new ways of working they enable.

FAQ

  1. What is generative AI? Generative AI, including Large Language Models (LLMs) and ChatGPT, represents a significant change in what we can automate with software. It’s not just about replacing human effort but also about creating entirely new kinds of automation.
  2. How fast is the adoption of generative AI tools like ChatGPT? The adoption is happening very rapidly. For instance, ChatGPT has amassed over 100 million users in just six months.
  3. What is the potential impact of generative AI on jobs? Generative AI tools have the potential to automate many tasks, which could lead to job displacement. However, similar to previous waves of automation, they could also create new types of jobs.
  4. What challenges are associated with the adoption of generative AI tools? The tools people use to do their jobs are complicated and very specialized, embodying much work and institutional knowledge. Replacing or automating any of these tools and tasks is not trivial. Additionally, while generative AI tools can answer ‘anything,’ the answer might be wrong as they are not databases but pattern matchers.
  5. What is the potential of generative AI tools in the education sector? In the education sector, generative AI tools could automate many administrative tasks and assist teachers with tasks such as grading, lesson planning, and even providing personalized learning support for students.
  6. What is the future of generative AI tools? The future of generative AI tools is likely to involve more automation, but also more integration with existing systems and processes. Their successful implementation will require careful planning, training, and adjustment.
  7. What is the ‘Lump of Labour’ fallacy? The ‘Lump of Labour’ fallacy is the misconception that there is a fixed amount of work to be done and that if a machine takes some work, there will be less work for people. However, if it becomes cheaper to use a machine to make, say, a pair of shoes, then the shoes are cheaper, more people can buy shoes, and they have more money to spend on other things besides, and we discover new things we need or want, and new jobs.
  8. What is the Jevons Paradox? The Jevons Paradox suggests that as technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, the total consumption of that resource may increase rather than decrease. This paradox has been applied to white-collar work for 150 years.
  9. What is AGI (Artificial General Intelligence)? AGI refers to a type of artificial intelligence that is as capable as a human at any intellectual task. If we had AGI, it could potentially change everything, including overriding all the complexity of real people, real companies, and the real economy. However, as of now, we do not have AGI, and without that, we have only another wave of automation.
  10. How can generative AI tools help in personalized learning? Generative AI tools can provide personalized learning support for students by adapting to each student’s learning style and pace. They can provide additional explanations, practice problems, and feedback, making learning more effective and engaging.
  11. Can generative AI tools replace teachers? While generative AI tools can assist with tasks such as grading and lesson planning, they are not a replacement for teachers. Teachers play a crucial role in motivating students, managing the classroom, and providing emotional support, among other things. These are aspects that cannot be automated.
  12. What is the role of generative AI tools in administrative tasks? Generative AI tools can automate administrative tasks such as scheduling, record-keeping, and communication with parents. This can free up time for school administrators to focus on more strategic tasks.
  13. What is the difference between a database and a pattern matcher in the context of generative AI tools? While databases store and retrieve factual information, pattern matchers, like generative AI tools, generate responses based on patterns they’ve learned from data. This means they can produce answers that fit the pattern of the question but may not be factually correct.
  14. What is the importance of careful planning and training in adopting generative AI tools? The successful implementation of generative AI tools requires careful planning and training. This is because these tools must be integrated into existing systems and processes, and users need to understand their capabilities and limitations.
  15. What does it mean that generative AI tools are not a magic bullet? This means that while generative AI tools hold great promise, they are not a solution to all problems. Their successful implementation will require careful planning, training, and adjustment. They are just another wave of automation, and their impact will depend on how well we adapt to the new ways of working they enable.
  16. What is the potential impact of generative AI tools on educational outcomes? By automating administrative tasks and assisting with teaching tasks, generative AI tools could lead to more efficient administration, more personalized learning, and, ultimately, better educational outcomes for students.

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What I’ve Been Reading

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  • Brandon Sanderson’s Secret Project #3, Yumi and the Nightmare Painter, was a fun dive into a new corner of the Cosmere
  • Street Data has added so much to my thinking and work toward my dissertation
  • The Civil Rights Road to Deeper Learning has also been an excellent companion in the past few weeks
  • I finished up the Licanius Trilogy this week. What a complex, mind-bending journey into a new realm of fantasy and magic. I came away with a couple of favorite characters and a new way of thinking about how to write epic fantasy.

If you’re on Goodreads or Storygraph, let’s connect and see where our reading journeys take us.


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The Power of Creation in Education: Lessons from Rodney Mullen

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In the world of skateboarding, Rodney Mullen is a legend. Known as the godfather of modern street skating, Mullen’s journey from a farm boy in Florida to a world-renowned skateboarder is a testament to the power of creativity, resilience, and individuality. As we navigate a transitional era in education, moving towards more student agency and authentic work, Mullen’s story offers valuable insights.

Growing up, Mullen felt like an outsider until he discovered skateboarding. The sport offered him a sense of freedom and individuality that resonated deeply with him. There were no coaches, no direct opponents – just him and his board. This is a powerful reminder of the importance of student agency in education. Like Mullen, students should have the freedom to explore their interests and passions, learn and grow at their own pace, and express their individuality through their work.

Mullen’s journey was not without challenges. As the sport of skateboarding evolved, he found himself struggling to adapt. However, this setback was also liberating. Freed from the pressure of maintaining his champion status, Mullen was able to explore and create new tricks. This resilience and adaptability are crucial skills for students in today’s rapidly changing world. As educators, we must create learning environments that encourage students to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and continually strive for improvement.

One of the most significant lessons from Mullen’s story is the power of creating something for the sake of creating it. Mullen found joy in innovating and creating new tricks, not for the accolades or fame, but for the sheer love of creation. This is a powerful message for students. In a world that often values grades and test scores above all else, it’s important to remind students that the process of creation and learning is valuable in and of itself.

Mullen’s story also highlights the importance of community and collaboration. In both the skateboarding and hacker communities, respect is earned by taking what others have done, improving upon it, and sharing it back with the community. This ethos of continuous innovation and growth is one that we should strive to foster in our classrooms. By encouraging students to collaborate, share their work, and build upon the ideas of others, we can create a culture of learning that is dynamic, inclusive, and empowering.

As we navigate this transitional era in education, let’s take a page from Rodney Mullen’s book. Let’s create learning environments that value creativity, resilience, individuality, and community. Let’s encourage our students to create for the sake of creating and to find joy in the process of learning. And most importantly, let’s remind them that, like Mullen, they have the power to shape their own learning journeys and to make a meaningful impact on the world around them.


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The Battle of Access: Mississippi’s New Law and the Fight for Information Freedom

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In a world where information is increasingly digital and accessible, a new law in Mississippi is causing a stir. The law, Mississippi Code 39-3-25, part of House Bill 1315, has effectively banned anyone under the age of 18 from accessing digital materials made available through public and school libraries without explicit parental or guardian permission. This move has sparked a debate about the morality of censorship and the right to access information.

The law, which went into effect on July 1, 2023, has left libraries across the state scrambling to comply. It mandates that vendors providing digital resources must verify that all their materials comply with the state’s definition of “obscenity.” This definition is broad and includes any material that contains representations or descriptions of various sexual acts, cruelty, violence, or anything deemed “likely to be injurious or harmful to a child.”

The implications of this law are far-reaching. Any vendor with materials in their system depicting sexual reproduction, queerness, or even images of nude female breasts – often part of sexual education, reproductive education, and biology and anatomy books for those under 18 – would be out of compliance with the law. As a result, platforms like Hoopla and Overdrive, which are not set up to change access based on age or varying laws by the municipality, may have to shut down access altogether.

This law has been seen by many as a step towards limiting public goods like libraries and creating systems where young people in some states have access to a world of knowledge and resources, while others are shut out entirely. It disproportionately affects those with the least privileges – those in unstable homes, those without regular internet access, and those without active parents or guardians in their lives.

The First Regional Public Library has already posted an announcement on its homepage regarding the changes, and the Vicksburg Public Library is still figuring out how the law will impact its patrons’ access to digital materials. For now, they’ve developed a new system of library card distribution, requiring those under 18 to have parental or guardian consent to access materials.

Mississippi is not the first state to limit access to materials and place the onus of compliance on the vendors. Texas is undergoing similar changes, and it’s likely that this will lead to similar, if not more dire, lockouts of material access for students statewide.

This move by Mississippi and other states highlights the ongoing battle over access to information and the role of libraries in our society. As we continue to navigate the digital age, the question remains: who gets to decide what information is accessible and to whom?

Read the original article


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“The Precipice” – A Call to Action for Modern Education: Embracing Existential Risk and Our Students’ Future

"We need to take decisive steps to end this period of escalating risk and safeguard our future. Fortunately, it is in our power to do so. The greatest risks are caused by human action, and they can be addressed by human action." (Toby Ord, The Precipice)

In the sphere of educational research, we continually aim to find ways to deepen student learning, foster student agency, and promote equity. As we delve into this task, we encounter a range of theories and viewpoints, all of which provoke thought and prompt reevaluation of our established norms. A recent encounter with Toby Ord’s book, “The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity,” has stimulated such reconsideration, expanding the discourse on the role of education in navigating existential risks.

Ord’s masterstroke lies in the urgent need to address existential risks—threats that could cause our extinction or irreversibly cripple our potential. These risks include natural hazards, such as asteroids and supervolcanoes, but are mainly human-made perils, like nuclear war, climate change, and potential drawbacks of advanced AI. Our task is to translate this narrative into the context of our educational mission.

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Precipice
  • Ord, Toby (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 480 Pages – 03/23/2021 (Publication Date) – Hachette Books (Publisher)

Reimagining education involves recognizing that the stakes have never been higher. With humanity on the precipice, the school system must incorporate deeper learning, fostering an understanding of complex, real-world issues such as climate change, artificial intelligence, and geopolitical tensions. Students need to grasp the gravity of these issues, discern the links between them, and understand how their actions can contribute to solutions.

Ord’s ideas also resonate strongly with the need to enhance student agency. As we navigate this precipice, the active participation of students in their learning becomes paramount. They must be involved in problem-solving, decision-making, and value formation regarding the issues at hand. Incorporating project-based learning and collaborative problem-solving into the curriculum are ways to prepare our students to address existential risks and steer humanity away from the brink.

The theme of equity is an undercurrent in “The Precipice,” particularly when considering who suffers most from these existential risks. It’s a stark reminder that educational equity is more than just an ideal; it’s a necessity. Students from all backgrounds must have equal opportunities to understand and confront existential risks. To achieve this, we must remove barriers to high-quality education, ensure diverse representation, and empower students with the skills, knowledge, and tools to shape the future positively.

Toby Ord’s “The Precipice” is not a book about education per se, but it holds an urgent lesson for all educators. Our current education system, with its emphasis on standardized testing and rigid curriculums, falls short of preparing students for the existential risks we face. But by embracing deeper learning, promoting student agency, and ensuring educational equity, we can better prepare our students to navigate and shape their futures in this uncertain world.

To paraphrase Ord, we are the stewards of humanity’s future. It’s our responsibility to educate our students with this in mind. Let’s not shrink away from this precipice but rather use it as a springboard to leap toward a more informed, engaged, and equitable education system. It’s not just our students’ futures at stake – it’s the future of all humanity.

FAQ

Q1: What are the main themes in “The Precipice” by Toby Ord?

A1: The primary themes in “The Precipice” include existential risk, the future of humanity, artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war, and the responsibilities of our generation to future generations.

Q2: What does Ord mean by “existential risk”?

A2: By “existential risk,” Ord refers to potential threats that could cause human extinction or drastically hinder our ability to reach our potential. These threats could be natural (like asteroids and supervolcanoes) or human-made (such as nuclear war, advanced artificial intelligence, and climate change).

Q3: How does Ord propose we should respond to these existential risks?

A3: Ord suggests that humanity needs to recognize these risks and take coordinated, strategic action to mitigate them. He emphasizes the need for comprehensive research, international cooperation, ethical decision-making, and the prioritization of long-term sustainability over short-term gains.

Q4: How does the book relate to the concept of “student agency”?

A4: Although not directly about education, “The Precipice” can be related to student agency in the context of preparing learners to navigate, understand, and act on existential risks. It advocates for empowering students to become active participants in their learning, equipping them with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to confront these global challenges.

Q5: What is the connection between the book and the concept of educational equity?

A5: The existential risks outlined in the book have unequal impacts on different populations, reflecting the broader issues of global inequality. In an educational context, this underscores the importance of providing equal opportunities for students of all backgrounds to learn about, understand, and address these risks.

Q6: How can “The Precipice” be used to inform educational practices and policies?

A6: “The Precipice” can guide educators towards integrating deeper learning about real-world issues into the curriculum. It encourages the promotion of student agency, collaborative problem-solving, and project-based learning. Moreover, it underscores the necessity of ensuring that all students, irrespective of their backgrounds, have equal access to quality education and the tools needed to shape the future positively.


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101 creative ideas to use AI in education: A crowdsourced collection

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The open crowdsourced collection by #creativeHE is a dynamic compilation of 101 innovative uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education, created in early 2023. This collection embodies collective creativity and the spirit of experimentation, offering a range of ideas in their nascent stages that could potentially revolutionize learning, development, teaching, and assessment. It emphasizes the importance of diverse perspectives and a collaborative community of practice, providing numerous examples of inventive AI applications in education.

As educators design new learning experiences and unique engagement opportunities, this collection serves as an inspiration to push boundaries, collaborate radically, and innovate for a transformational student experience. The collection is expected to grow as educators continue to experiment and evolve their practices in the realm of AI in education.

Read the full report here.


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