Phoenix Arising, Open House, March 3.

The Phoenix Arising Aviation Academy is really starting to make progress, as the mission is to inspire the students with science (STEM), and of course, the medium is Flight !! Great concept !!
10435 Burnet Road, Suite 108
Austin, TX   78758
Come on out this Sat, Mar 3, 1 – 4pm, or 5 – 7pm for Open House. On Burnet Rd, about a half block south of Breaker Ln (between Mopac and I-35; closer to Mopac).  Please forward to all that may have time to visit, now or anytime in the future.

Teaching Science, Technology, and Math with Flight Training…. Brilliant idea !!

I had the pleasure of meeting Zaitrarrio “Zay” and Tasha Collier in January, and eagerly accepted their offer this week to join their instructor staff at the Phoenix Arising Aviation Academy.  Together in 2008, they began the steps necessary to bond Zay’s love of flying with their desires to inspire teens and pre-teens to study the sciences through flight training.  Last summer they were able to offer the first summer program, and last month began their relationship with the Austin ISD as an After School Program Provider at 3 schools, with others on the waiting list.  From my studies and reading list in Ed Tech last semester, which was a study in the USA decline in STEM subjects, (see previous book blogs), I am very happy to continue this research with the Colliers.

This month the Academy moved into their new facility:
10435 Burnet Road, Suite 108. Austin, TX 78758.

In addition to the many desk top Microsoft Flight Simulators, the new Redbird FMX 1000 full motion flight simulator (AATD), produced here in Austin, was delivered and is now fully operational.  Not only will the school students be able to progress from classroom to desk top to full motion, the Academy now offers adult programs from Introductory Flight to Certification and Recurrent Training for the begining and experienced pilots.

In March there will be spring break programs, as well as weekly summer sessions.  Lots of work to be done to acquire the manpower and resources to add more schools and to expand the curriculums.  I am certain the Colliers would greatly appreciate help in many areas: licensed pilots, Certified Flight Instructors, science teachers, and resource sponsors ($$ Donations); Phoenix Arising is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity – Tax ID 26-3397223.  Time and money always help to provide a solid foundation for quality training and learning.

Redbird Flight Simulations:

As Phoenix Arising is the first of its kind here in Central Texas, it is quickly proving concepts that have been a success in learning environments:
At Phoenix Arising Aviation Academy, we believe in changing the way students learn about science, technology, engineering and math – and the result: changing the world.

Students learn best when:
* There is a positive physical, emotional and social environment
* There is a variety of learning options that allow the use of all their senses
* There is a continual process of “real-world” immersion, feedback, and reflection

We utilize experiential learning techniques which unlock the potential for learning which has often been untapped by conventional learning methods. Through problem solving, troubleshooting, and hands-on activities, students will begin to mange their own learning.

Students will also enhance their critical thinking, effective communication and decision-making skills while engaging in activities that are both exciting and educational!”
More information posted soon.

      Learning at Mach Speed

Second Half: Berry, B. (2011). Teaching 2030: What we must do for our students and our public schools–now and in the future. New York: Teachers College Press.

After outlining a vision of four Emergent Realities in the opening chapters, Berry and the Team have proposed solutions to move the education industry forward in Chapters 7 & 8. I have found the follow topics well worth further research.

In Chapter 7, Change Levers:

  • ·         #1. Engage the Public with a New Vision for Teaching and Learning
  • ·         #2. Rethink School Finance
  • ·         #3. Redefine Teacher Education and Licensing to Advance the Spread of Effective Teaching
  • ·         #4. Cultivate Working Conditions that Make High-Needs Schools “Easier to Staff”
  • ·         #5. Reframe Accountability for Transformative Results
  • ·         #6. Transform Teacher Unions Into Professional Guilds

In Chapter 8, steps to move forward, directed to:

  • ·         School Administrators
  • ·         Union Leaders
  • ·         Policymakers
  • ·         University Presidents
  • ·         Community Leaders
  • ·         Parents and Students
  • ·         Teachers

These are the stakeholders who need to act and collaborate in a unified manner in order to make use of all resources, which are readily becoming scarcer. I like the quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  I agree the connectivity of the current and future Internet they describe will be “unprecedented and powerful”.  

In addition to enjoying the book, and the vision they offer, I think the following links to be beneficial and entertaining: Assessing Student Learning,You Tube Ad: A Look at Teaching 2030:

Teaching 2030 social website:

I have found this organization very compatible with Ken Robinson’s summary of the needs changing in our dynamic world, which you may also find interesting. Sir Ken Robinson, Changing Paradigms, RSAnimate, YouTube:

Book Blog #5: Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public Schools–… B. Berry

In the first half of this book by Berry and the TeacherSolutions 2030 Team, I have enjoyed the history of the teaching profession and our education system. Once again I have found the sequence of reading this book after our other four to be a benefit from both a summary of issues, as well as projections into the future. The case histories and examples are well presented, and the documentation in Notes is very thorough.

Though I was taken back in the ” Imagineering the Future” forecast that in 2030 “the teaching profession has fully arrived…. the controversy… has pretty much ended”. (p5). I can’t imagineer that at all, and assume that throughout the book they will introduce more balance to the forecasts. In 2030 the new advances will be at least as fast and fluid as they have been for the last 20 years, and the challenges of that time will still be as great or more than today. So maybe they mean the teachers have caught up with 2030, and have a solid plan in the direction of 2050 that does not resemble 1950??

Also, having been a fan of both John Dewey and E.L. Thorndike I was disappointed with the section that ended with Thorndike won, and Dewey lost (p.26) in their effects on the 20th century education. For me, they both have valuable inputs that are true today. That Thorndike presented linear steps affective learning does not preclude the importance Dewey offered in student-centric learning, and vice versa. For organizations and regulators of those days to move into only one type of learning at the expense of others is where we find ourselves today. Perhaps behaviorism, pragmatism, instrumentalism, and educational progressivism all have some valid points today. It is not necessary to be all one or the other. As mentioned later in the book, teaching is both an art and a science, and each is a branch of the same tree; unique in its own way. There is a good lead in to connectivism (p.48), and hopefully we are moving toward appropriate balance and effective solutions in the remainder of the book.

Even if the title and vision quest are far out, I have found it to be a thought provoking presentation. 

Berry, B. (2011). Teaching 2030: What we must do for our students and our public schools–now and in the future. New York: Teachers College Press.

Book Blog #4: Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

Shortly after I started reading “Disrupting Class..” (DC), I stopped to wonder why I was enjoying the book so much. Was it because it was such a contrast to our previous books? I quickly decided it was directly related to the sequence of the 3 previous books and those issues which makes DC pertinent, and also refreshing.

After Anderegg suggested U.S. educational decline was due to Nerd abuse, and Prensky and Bauerlein presented opposite views on the value of Technology as a cure or cause, Christensen et al, develop a timely history of education in the U.S., and of market forces and terminology which drive societies as well as school systems. When I purchased the book I first thought the title would refer to dealing with student types that disrupted class. Instead, in DC we read the history of disruptive innovations and processes which change events which were being maintained by the status quo.

I think the many descriptions of how corporations have been affected by market forces of sustaining those old paradigms and resisting the disruptive are great examples of the issues facing education today. In particular, I found the following issues very interesting:

  •       Disruptive and Sustaining Innovations
  •       Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation
  •       Moving from Interdependent to Modular production
  •       Standardized Learning vs Student-Centric approach / technologies
  •       People learn differently: hereditary or by preference
  •       Gardner’s 8 intelligences
  •       Standardized vs Customized
  •       Competing against Non-Consumption
  •       Disruptive vs Cramming
  •       Integrating learning with testing: quality control while learning

These and many more issues are well presented, explained and footnoted. The research documentation that seemed to be lacking in the other three books is well displayed in Notes at the end of each chapter. Not only are the references well displayed, but a bounty of additional information is added. Where I think Bauerlein may have benefited by considering either a learner’s extrinsic or intrinsic motivations, I did find at least Prensky herein noted on page 114.

I have found nothing in the first four chapters to disagree with, and find the path building for more benefits of student-centric learning technology that may have uses in my personal decisions also. Employing the new to fit the old ways of doing things is a trap to maintain the status quos we might best do without.

Christensen, C.M., Horn, M.B., & Johnson, C.W. (2010). Disrupting class: How disruptive innovation will change the    way the world learns (2nd Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

EDTC Online Theory Presentation

My theory is now posted on PBWorks Bio page.

Online Theory Presentation

Effective teaching styles should be flexible to meet the needs of the students. My Theory of Education is founded on the search for Appropriate use of all technologies available, and the Balance to affect the long term goals of the Learner.
From Apr 12, 1981 until July 21, 2011, NASA operated the space Shuttle program through a 135 missions.
Like the Apollo missions which preceded them in the 60’s, NASA engineers applied their knowledge and resources to build and service a space station for 30 years. Were they able to accomplish this from “stand and deliver” lectures alone, and memorizing facts and slogans?
When the space race began in earnest on May 25, 1961, the technology of the day was the slide rule. The Big Main frame computers had just been introduced in 1960.
Technology of the day, any day, has changed since early man started picking up rocks. Technology evolves, just as Education evolves to use it.
We have read Prensky who advocates more technology to feed and captivate the New Generation. Then Bauerlein suggests technology is the cause of the dumbing down of our society.
But what is the Appropriate Balance? I think it is an old question, revisited.
Over a hundred years ago John Dewey introduced teachers to “reflective thought”, which has led to “critical thinking”, “problem solving”, and “higher level thought”.
As Behaviorist, Pragmatist, Cognitivist, Constructionist, and many Sub-isms all took their turn in the spot light, I find educators like Dewey, Piaget, Bruner, Bloom, Thorndike and a few others to hold true for me today.
From Bloom’s Taxonomy we can derive the learning techniques of centered learnings in order to customize instruction to meet the Learner’s needs.
When E.L. Thorndike proposed his “Fundamentals of Learning”, (1932), he not only offered what and how most people try to learn, but what effects, promotes and hinders those processes, and also what reinforces those events the most.
In these Levels we find a hierarchy of Learning where long term behavior modification can take place.
If we only rely on the lowest level of Rote Memory to pass the test, we always have to return to learn what we had learned before, and fail to get to the higher levels of Knowing.
Maybe we can consider our task today as Connecting the techniques of all disciplines with the newer technology and all the resources to achieve our long term goals.
We teach as we were taught. But we can’t stop there. We should not let primacy lead us to believe there is only one way to learn. Our goal should be open to the new, and to live and learn Now.
If we set our sights short, we may land sideways, or even up a tree without a Lesson Plan.
The problems of the future may find that Standardized Testing checks for what our society already knows, when we should be educating the new generations to be future problem solvers, thinkers, and knowers.
Living NOW is never the end, but is always just the beginning.

“The Dumbest generation:…” by M. Bauerlein

Since 1989, Mark Bauerlein has been a professor of English at Emory University, after receiving his doctorate from UCLA in 1988. He served as the Director, Office of Research and Analysis, at the National Endowment for the Arts in 2003-05. In the “Dumbest Generation”, he begins with a volume of studies and reports on the drop in standardized test scores of the U.S. youth. He seems to believe the generation under age 30 does not read enough, study art enough, ponder the important issues, or even have the vocabulary to discuss them if they did. He proposes that technology, particularly TV, social networks, gaming, and the internet may be depriving these people of the time needed to learn important knowledge. He may well be correct, especially if we consider what should be required of a responsible, educated voter in our democracy.

In reading this third book, I find it an interesting follow to our first two. Where Anderegg surmises the decline in STEM subjects is due to disengaging our Nerds and Geeks, and Prensky proposes the cure is in more encouragement of the technology the Digital Natives have grown up with, Bauerlein does not believe that effective learning can take place through the internet on a scale to make a difference. If he is correct, we may be indeed doomed as a society.

I derive from all 3 books a need for appropriate education, and a balanced use of technology as we know it today. What is considered appropriate and balanced will be in the hands, and minds, and capabilities of the parents, teachers, administrators, politicians, pocket books, and no less, the students themselves. Can we afford to spend millions of dollars per school district on hardware and software when much of it will be outdated next year? If as Bauerlein suggests, the cons of knowledge retention is so poor it will not produce the desired results, how can we rationalize spending valuable time and resources building curricula which may be no more than another version of a social network?

Profits are good for social and gaming technology companies that invest in those products. However, in other industries with cash strapped bottom lines, there is always a reluctance to invest in new methods of training if they can just get by with the old. The old paradigms of learning persist in the world of cost effective training. It is not what is the best method, but the cheapest short term route to production. With the current federal and state budget crisis, the occasional school board buying millions of dollars of computers for their students may be short lived. I hope, in order to engage each student in an appropriate manner, we can develop active and rewarding platforms for learning. I can appreciate Bauerlein’s view of art appreciation, the classics, and involvement of all areas of our society, and hope he will embrace the technology when it is shown successful. For now, we have a duty to engage in innovative ways, but don’t throw out the pen and paper yet; or as John Dewey said about appropriate education:
“We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at the present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same in the future. This is the only preparation which in the long run amounts to anything”. (“Experience of Education”, 1938).

Bauerlein, M. (2009). The dumbest generation: How the digital age stupefies young Americans and jeopardizes our future (Or, don’t trust anyone under 30). New York: Tarcher.
ISBN: 978-1585427123