Visiting lecturer David Warlick: Rethink education

March 1, 2013 | Leave a Comment

Visiting lecturer David Warlick: Rethink education

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BUIES CREEK -- In 2008, there were an average of 80 billion searches a month on the 10 most popular web search engines. The next year, the monthly average increased to 113 billion searches; that&rsquo;s about 150 million searches an hour. Also consider the popularity of YouTube. In 2009, there was 15 hours&rsquo; worth of video content uploaded to the site per minute. Now, 60 hours&rsquo; worth of material is uploaded a minute.</p>
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All this represents how the U.S. has become a hyperconnected, question-seeking and even playful culture, education expert David Warlick said Thursday during a lecture hosted by Campbell University&rsquo;s School of Education before a near-capacity crowd in Lynch Auditorium.&nbsp;</p>
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And all of this &ldquo;is requiring us to rethink education,&rdquo; he said.</p>
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&quot;What is it about that outside-the-classroom-information experience that makes it so compelling and so effective?&rdquo; added Warlick, who has been an education consultant, a classroom teacher, a district administrator and a staff consultant with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction throughout his 30-plus-year career. &ldquo;If we figure out the qualities of that experience, we can use that to impact the experiences we facilitate in the classroom.&rdquo;</p>
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Warlick&rsquo;s talk, &ldquo;21st Century Teaching and Learning,&rdquo; was part of the Senior Enhancement Experience the School of Education began this year to provide additional professional and cultural opportunities to seniors in its teacher education programs. Other activities this semester have included a Cultural Night Out, when seniors attended a play in Raleigh, and a reception for cooperating teachers and students who have begun student teaching. Warlick launched the Speaker Series Thursday.</p>
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Warlick encouraged the seniors and the other eduction students who attended the lecture to apply, in their classrooms, the four qualities of outside-the-classroom-learning experiences that he has observed. Those four qualities -- as well as the four questions Warlick suggested teachers ask themselves as they plan activities, projects or lessons -- are as follows:</p>
<h3>
<b>Responsiveness.</b></h3>
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<li>
  <b>What he said: </b> &ldquo;The sort of experience [with video games] is entirely about assessment. Everything you do is being assessed, but the message is different. It&rsquo;s not that you got that right or wrong, the assessment is that it worked or it didn&rsquo;t work; and regardless as to whether it worked or didn&rsquo;t work, you&rsquo;re walking away with a new bit of information. This immediate feedback, this immediate assessment, is valuable in education. [And video games] work because the learning experience responds to students in a relevant way and . . . provides immediate feedback and assessment.&rdquo;</li>
<li>
  <b>An example from the classroom:</b> Warlick said one teacher had students begging her for more writing assignments within two weeks of starting a classroom blog that became a platform for homework. &ldquo;They weren&rsquo;t begging for writing assignments because they were blogging, they were begging for writing assignments because, as they were blogging, it stopped being a writing assignment and it became a communications assignment,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They were writing knowing that their classmates were going to be reading and responding to what they were writing. . . and they wanted to improve their writing skills as a result of having a real audience.&rdquo;</li>
<li>
  <b>Related question: </b>&quot;How can I make the learning experience talk back to the learners?&quot;</li>
</ul>
<h3>
<b>Provokes conversation.</b></h3>
<ul>
<li>
  <b>What he said: </b>&ldquo;Ask students to solve the problem. And then they will question themselves. It starts with things left out. . . . In learning about the Western movement, the tendency of the 20th century educator would be to lecture for 45 minutes about the historical events and geography up to the Western movement. Rather than giving us all the information, perhaps we should start small and provoke learners to question their way into the conversation.&rdquo;</li>
<li>
  <strong>An example from the classroom:</strong> Students in a second grade class took a field trip to Fort Edmonton, a living history museum in Canada, to learn about prairie life. After the field trips, the students drew a picture of a form of transportation that would have existed in early Edmonton. Through a blog, the second grade students contacted students in a fourth grade class who took the same field trips and contracted with them to draw the background setting for the pictures of a form of transportation. Then, the fourth grade students contracted with a 10th grade multimedia class, which animated the drawings.</li>
<li>
  <b>Related question:</b>&nbsp;&quot;How can the learning experience require the leaders to exchange knowledge with others?&quot;</li>
</ul>
<h3>
<b>Inspires personal investment.</b></h3>
<ul>
<li>
  <b>What he said: </b>&ldquo;Students invest themselves in the experience because there is value there. . . . YouTube is the second largest website. . . . And all the content came from where? Us -- people who were playful enough to teach themselves how to make videos and share them with others.&rdquo;</li>
<li>
  <b>An example from the classroom: </b>A calculus teacher has a student post the notes he or she took during the class onto a class blog. At the end of the notes, the student writes the name of another student, who is responsible for posting the class notes to the blog the next day. &ldquo;What happens is that the students start rethinking their notes and recognize them, and they do that because they know their blog is going to be a meeting place for classmates tonight,&rdquo; he said.</li>
<li>
  <strong>Related question: </strong>&quot;How can I design value into the learning experience in such a way that students are inspired to invest themselves in that experience?&quot;</li>
</ul>
<h3>
<b><b>Guided by safely-made mistakes.</b></b></h3>
<ul>
<li>
  <b>What he said:</b>&nbsp;&quot;In your outside learning experiences, you often achieve what you need to by getting it wrong. . . . Each time you get it wrong, you think why did I get it wrong? . . . How can I change what to do to get in the right direction? . . . In the real world, the most often valuable answers are the wrong answers -- the ones that help us learn something new. That&rsquo;s real-world thinking.&rdquo;</li>
<li>
  <b><b>An example from the classroom:&nbsp;</b></b>Have students teach themselves and other students how to create their own video games using <a href="http://scratch.mit.edu/">Scratch</a>, a software developed by MIT.</li>
<li>
  <strong>Related question:&nbsp;</strong>&quot;How can I dare the learners to make the mistakes that can drive the learning dialogue?&quot;</li>
</ul>
<p>
Warlick concluded his talk by stating: &ldquo;Your job will be to make children future ready. . . . Being educated today is not just about what you&rsquo;ve been taught. Being educated today is what you teach yourself. Being educated is not just about you&rsquo;re trained to do, but also what you can resourcefully accomplish. Being educated today is not just the shoulders you can stand on but also the team you can help down the field. . . . Being educated today is not a race to the top; it is joyfully exploring, discovering and inventing the future.</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Sometimes it is as simple as the teacher who says, &lsquo;Surprise me.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p>
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<em>Article by Cherry Crayton, digital content coordinator</em></p>

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