07 August 2013

Stepping Up to the Challenge of Education and the Road Ahead - Dr. Mark Milliron

There was a point in time when education broke the cycle of poverty. That's not necessarily true in a day and age when only 50% of students who start college are able to finish.

We must think about the journey for students. How do we structure learning environments? How do we instill a sense of purpose in students? How do we help them to inventory their desires and wants and get that sense of purpose sooner rather than later? Note - the modal learner of today is from the late 20s to the early 50s with a mean of about 37. The traditional students are not going away, but they are no longer the modal learners.

Look into the Virginia Education Wizard and check out what it does. It's not useful outside the state, but the idea is awesome. Why is full-time status the default? Why do students have to talk to someone to make an exception to attend half-time? Why do students feel like they are filing for welfare or at the DMV? Students need to get on purpose from day 1. It doesn't mean they have to pick a major, it means that they need to understand the importance of knowing where they want to go.

We need to dispel the myth of edutainment. We must get them to understand that they must work hard in order to succeed. WGU Texas calls it the Texas two-step. Read the book Mindset. Shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. You don't already know everything you need to know. You are here to learn and that's intended to be hard. If it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth doing.

There's a big difference between the kids who are scaffolded throughout their life for college. Contrasted with the students who have NO ONE in their life who understands the higher education journey. Check out Practical Magic for reading. Students need to leave our classrooms better prepared for the next part of the journey. Persistence and tenacity are two very important pieces. However, this must be combined with a purpose and strategies for success.

There are 3 academic mindsets. Social, academic perseverance, and learning strategies. However, many think you have to choose one. But research shows that you must have a combination of all three to be successful. With everything we do, we should ask the question: Does this expand students' learning? That and the data behind it should frame every decision we make. How do we leverage technology to make a connection with students?

How do we build the right infrastructure, to get the right data, to the right people, in the right way? The consumer world is decades ahead of us in using data. Within 2 hours of you losing your credit card, a man in India will call you to see if you have lost your card. This is triggered by your spending habits and quick, closed-loop feedback. Let's apply that to learning.

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