User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Best Education-Related Videos of 2014

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I love end of year “best of” lists.  My own list is what I found to be the most powerful education related videos of 2014. They all, in some way, address the mind, heart, and spirit of education.  Each touched me in some way to help illuminate the purpose and core of education. Let me know of any others that you found of value during 2014!

Malala Yousuf Nobel Prize Speech

So through my story I want to tell other children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights. They should not wait for someone else and their voices are more powerful. Their voices – it would seem that they are weak, but at the time when no one speak, your voice gets so loud that everyone has to listen to it. Everyone has to hear it. So it’s my message to children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights.

Maya Angelou on George Stroumboulopoulos

Always so very beautiful – RIP, beautiful woman!

I must must tell you the truth as I understand it.  You might be the last person with whom I speak. Life is life and death is death, so I must tell the truth when I speak.

What I really want to do is be a representative of my race; the human race. I have a chance to show how kind we can be, how intelligent and generous we can be. I have a chance to teach and to love and to laugh.

Carol Dweck: The Power of Believing You Can Improve

How are we raising our children? Are we raising them for now instead of yet? Are we raising kids who are obsessed with getting A’s? Are we raising kids who don’t know how to dream big dreams?  Let’s not waste any more lives, because once we know that abilities are capable of such growth, it becomes a basic human right for children, all children, to live in places that create that growth, to live in places filled with yet.  

Sir Ken Robinson: Can Creativity Be Taught

Teaching is a process of enabling. It’s a process of giving people opportunities. It’s a process of encouragement. It’s a process of inspiration, of mentoring.  Gifted teachers help people discover their creative talents, to nurture them, to hone them, and to become more creative as a result.

President Obama on the Whitehouse Maker Faire

But what’s happening is, is that the young people now are able to learn by doing. So math, science all gets incorporated into the task of actually making something, which the students tell me makes the subject matter that much more interesting. We’re helping schools take shop class into the 21st century, because one of the things I’m really interested in is how do we redesign high schools so that young people are able to do stuff as they are learning.

Toxic Culture of Education: Joshua Katz

THOSE students are marginalized by what I call our “Toxic Culture of Education.” It doesn’t matter if a student is a gifted artist, a loving caretaker, a poetic writer, or a talented musician. THOSE students are the fish being measured on how they climb trees.  We need to start paying attention to our students. If a student fails Algebra 1 in the ninth grade, chances are it is not because they do not understand the material. Chances are it’s not because the teacher isn’t teaching. Chances are it’s not because of the school. Chances are it is because the student lacks some type of intangible characteristic (a “Non-Cognitive Behavior”) that enables them to succeed. Things like persistence, initiative, social skills, common sense, a full belly, or a good night’s sleep.

The necessity of the student voice | Catherine Zhang

Our projects seem more like coloring activities than actual content, and we were forced to only consider one interpretation especially on multiple choice tests. We knew there was something fundamentally wrong with the way we were being taught, but as students we were powerless. At a time we are trying to answer these large questions about the future of education, we’re leaving out this huge portion of the population.  Student are this untapped resource.  We’re the only ones at the receiving end of education. Asking these educational experts about what appeals to kids without asking students, themselves, is like asking your 92 year old grandmother how to use Instragram when you have a teenager in the house.

Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age – Mitchel Resnick

Not only do new technologies have us rethink what we learn and how we learn, we can also rethink where we learn, when we learn, and with whom we learn. With technology we can be learning all of the time.  If we think of technology in the right way, we can break out of old outmoded models of learning.  New technologies help us rethink the structures of schools.

Individualization, failure and fun | Cordell Steiner

Failure was an awesome experience and had a purpose. You are able to learn from your failure. You have the opportunity to go back over and over again; and work until you master a skill.

Inspire Her Mind

Isn’t it time we tell her she is PRETTY BRILLIANT, too.

You can help stop the violence against young black men | Verna Myers

And we’ve got to be willing to not shelter our children from the ugliness of racism when black parents don’t have the luxury to do so, especially those who have young black sons. We’ve got to take our lovely darlings, our future, and we’ve got to tell them we have an amazing country with incredible ideals, we have worked incredibly hard, and we have made some progress, but we are not done. We still have in us this old stuff about superiority and it is causing us to embed those further into our institutions and our society and generations, and it is making for despair and disparities and a devastating devaluing of young black men. We still struggle, you have to tell them, with seeing both the color and the character of young black men, but that you, and you expect them, to be part of the forces of change in this society that will stand against injustice and is willing, above all other things, to make a society where young black men can be seen for all of who they are.

If I Knew Then: A Letter to Me on My First Day Teaching

Kid President Throws a Surprise Party for a Retiring Teacher

Erzah French: Sportskid of the Year

You can dream it, you can hope it, you can make it happen; I choose to make it happen.

Malcolm Mitchell Book Club

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

December 18, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Universal Skills All Learners Should Know How to Do

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This morning I was thinking about the things that all young people should know how to do regardless of income, geographical location, life goals, etc.  I started a list – see below.  Some have “always” been true – some are unique to this century of learning.  Let me know of any other universal skills you believe young people should know how to do.

Which are taught in school?  Which should be taught in school?

universal skills

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

December 6, 2014 at 1:00 am

Posted in Education

Experiences in Self-Determined Learning: Moving from Education 1.0 Through Education 2.0 Towards Education 3.0

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Mrs. Lisa Marie Blaschke, Mr. Chris Kenyon, and Dr. Stewart Hase contacted a group of us due to our interest in heutagogy for the purpose of writing a chapter in an edited book.  This past week, because of their hard work, this book has been published through Amazon.  It is titled Experiences in Self-Determined Learning and can be found at


What follows is:

  • The Book Description
  • The Table of Contents
  • My Own Chapter: Moving From Education 1.0 Through Education 2.0 Towards Education 3.0

Book Description

Self-determined learning or heutagogy is fast gaining interest from educators around the world interested in an evidence-based approach to learning. Grounded as it is on brain research and extensive research into how people learn self-determined learning is particularly popular among those interested in innovative approaches to learning. This edited book is the perfect primer on self-determined learning or heutagogy. It consists of an introductory chapter explaining the main concepts and principles of this exciting approach to educational practice. This is followed by 16 chapters describing the experience of practitioners in using the approach. These experiences come from a wide variety of interests including school education, higher education, workplace learning, consulting, lifelong learning, training, and community education. Full of links to resources, curated sites,and discussion forums, this is a valuable ‘how to’ book for the interested practitioner and theoretician alike.

Table of Contents

The Basics

  • An Introduction to Self-determined Learning (Heutagogy): Stewart Hase
  • Heutagogy and Systems Thinking: A Perfect Marriage for Conducting Learning Experiences: Stewart Hase

The Learners

  • Embracing Opportunities for Self-Directed Learning in Formal Learning Environments: Bernard Bull
  • Moving Forward in the PAH Continuum: Maximizing the Power of the Social Web: Lisa Marie Blaschke
  • Assessment as an Ongoing Act of Learning: A Heutagogical Approach: Melanie Booth
  • New Pathways to Knowledge and Learning: Rónán O’Beirne
  • Moving From Education 1.0 Through Education 2.0 Towards Education 3.0: Jackie Gerstein

The Teachers

  • Skills for the Learner and Learning Leader in the 21st Century: Stewart Hase
  • Heutagogy and Social Communities of Practice: Will Self-determined Learning Re-write the Script for Educators?: David Price
  • Professional Performance Appraisal: From Ticking the Boxes to Heutagogy: Jill Ridden
  • Creating Learning Legacies Using Blogs: Robert Schuetz
  • Heutagogy and the Impact on Adult Learning in Higher Education: Denise Hexom

The Curriculum

  • Cultivating Creative Approaches to Learning: Thomas Cochrane and Vickel Narayan
  • From Obstacle to Opportunity: Using Government-mandated Curriculum Change as a Springboard for Changes in Learning and Teaching: Jon Andrews
  • One Way of Introducing Heutagogy: Chris Kenyon
  • Applying Heutagogy in Online Learning: The SIDE Model: Eric Belt
  • Engaging the Wider Community – A Heutagogic Journey Made by a Heutagogic Learner to Develop a Heutagogic Project: Mark Narayan

My Chapter: Moving From Education 1.0 Through Education 2.0 Towards Education 3.0

What follows is my chapter.  For a full picture and understand of Heutagogy, I recommend that you purchase the book.

The evolution of the web from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and now to Web 3.0 can be used a metaphor of how education should also be moving, developing, and evolving from Education 1.0 towards that of an Education 3.0. The Internet has become an integral thread of the tapestries of most societies throughout the globe. The web influences people’s way of thinking, doing and being; and people influence the development and content of the web. The Internet of today has become a huge picture window and portal into human perceptions, thinking, and behavior. Logically, then, we would expect that schools would follow suit in matching what is happening via the Internet to assist children and youth to function, learn, work, and play in a healthy, interactive, and pro-social manner in their societies-at-large. This, sadly, is more often than not the case. Many educators are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning and implementing Education 3.0.

Education 1.0: A Pedagogical, Essentialist Education

Education 1.0 is a type of essentialist, behaviorist education based on the three Rs – receiving by listening to the teacher; responding by taking notes, studying text, and doing worksheets; and regurgitating by taking the same assessments as all other students in the cohort. Learners are seen as receptacles of that knowledge and as receptacles, they have no unique characteristics. All are viewed as the same. It is a standardized/one-size-fits-all education.

Figure X.1. Education 1.0: Learners as Receptacles of Knowledge

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Teachers prior to the Internet, as we know it today, were one of the primary gatekeepers of information. Education 1.0 was often the best choice given the resources and technologies of that time in history.   Other than libraries and news outlets, students were dependent on the educator to provide them with information. As such, a major role of the educator, similar to the beginning stages of the web, was to provide students with content knowledge in a one-way, often didactic format.

Education 1.0 can be compared to Web 1.0 where there is a one-way dissemination of knowledge from teacher to student.   Derek W. Keats and J. Philipp Schmidt (2007) provide an excellent comparison of how Education 1.0 is similar to Web 1.0.

Education 1.0 is, like the first generation of the Web, a largely one-way process. Students go to school to get education from teachers, who supply them with information in the form of a stand up routine that may include the use of class notes, handouts, textbooks, videos, and in recent times the World Wide Web. Students are largely consumers of information resources that are delivered to them, and although they may engage in activities based around those resources, those activities are for the most part undertaken in isolation or in isolated local groups. Rarely do the results of those activities contribute back to the information resources that students consume in carrying them out (Keats & Schmidt, 2007, para. 6).

Education 1.0: An Essentialist Philosophy. Education 1.0 can be classified as an essentialism or instructivism teaching and learning philosophical orientation. These educational frameworks or philosophies fit the characteristics of an Education 1.0 or a traditional pedagogical teaching framework.

Essentialism is defined as:

Essentialism tries to instill all students with the most essential or basic academic knowledge and skills and character development. In the essentialist system, students are required to master a set body of information and basic techniques for their grade level before they are promoted to the next higher grade. Essentialists argue that classrooms should be teacher-oriented. The teachers or administrators decide what is most important for the students to learn with little regard to the student interests. The teachers also focus on achievement test scores as a means of evaluating progress (Essentialism, n.d., para. 1).

Instructivism can be described as:

In the instructivist learning theory, knowledge exists independently of the learner, and is transferred to the student by the teacher. As a teacher-centered model, the instructivist view is exhibited by the dispensing of information to the student through the lecture format. This theory requires the student to passively accept information and knowledge as presented by the instructor (Pogue, 2009, para. 2).

The final piece of understanding the philosophical underpinnings of an Education 1.0 is that of pedagogy:

There is little doubt that the most dominant form of instruction in Europe and America is pedagogy, or what some people refer to as didactic, traditional, or teacher-directed approaches. The pedagogical model of instruction was originally developed in the monastic schools of Europe in the Middle Ages. Young boys were received into the monasteries and taught by monks according to a system of instruction that required these children to be obedient, faithful, and efficient servants of the church (Knowles, 1984). In the pedagogical model, the teacher has full responsibility for making decisions about what will be learned, how it will be learned, when it will be learned, and if the material has been learned. Pedagogy, or teacher-directed instruction as it is commonly known, places the student in a submissive role requiring obedience to the teacher’s instructions. It is based on the assumption that learners need to know only what the teacher teaches them (Hiemstra & Sisco, 1990, para. 2-3).

This essentialist, instructivist, pedagogical teaching model is still the most predominant model in current Kindergarten through College public education, even in these modern times of unbiquitous information and technology. The learner in an essentialist, instructivist, pedagogical learning environment, given 21st century technologies, and through instruction of the teacher may:

  • Access information via ebooks and websites, but these often lack any type of interactivity or capabilities for the learner to comment, share, or interact with the content.
  • Watch, learn, and take notes from live and/or video lectures that focus on didactic dissemination of content and information.
  • Use technologies and mobile apps based on drill and grill where learners are given direction instruction via these technologies and asked to provide the correct answers via quiz questions. (I classify these technologies as worksheets on steroids.)

Figure X.2. Education 1.0 Learning Environment

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Education 2.0: An Andragogical, Constructivist Approach to Teaching and Learning

Education 2.0, like Web 2.0, permits interactivity between the content and users, and between users themselves. With Web 2.0, users moved from just accessing information and content to being able to directly interact with the content through commenting, remixing, and sharing it via social networks. Web 2.0 also saw the development of social media which permits users to communicate directly with one another synchronously and asynchronously.

Similar to Web 2.0, Education 2.0 includes more interaction between the teacher and student; student to student; and student to content and expert. Education 2.0 has progressive, humanistic roots where the human element is important to learning. The teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships are considered as part of the learning process. Education 2.0 focuses on the three Cs – communicating, contributing, and collaborating.

Figure X.3. Education 2.0: Learners as Communicating, Connecting, and Collaboration

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Education 2.0 happens when the technologies of Web 2.0 are used to enhance traditional approaches to education. Education 2.0 involves the use of blogs, podcasts, social bookmarking and related participation technologies but the circumstances under which the technologies are used are still largely embedded within the framework of Education 1.0. The process of education itself is not transformed significantly although the groundwork for broader transformation is being laid down (Keats & Schmidt, 2007, para. 7).

Some school administrators and educators have taken steps and moved into a more connected, creative Education 2.0 through using project-based and inquiry learning, cooperative learning, global learning projects, Skype in the classroom, and shared wikis, blogs and other social networking in the classroom. With Education 2.0, the teacher, though, is still the orchestrator of the learning. S/he still develops the learning activities and is the facilitator of learning.

Education 2.0: An Andragogical, Constructivist Approach to Teaching and Learning. Education 2.0 takes on the characteristics of an andragogical, more constructivist teaching orientation where the principles of active, experiential, authentic, relevant, and socially-networked learning experiences are built into the class or course structure. Andragogy has been described for teaching adult learning, but basic principles can be extracted from Andragogy and applied to the teaching of most age groups.

The andragogical model is a process concerned with providing procedures and resources for helping learners acquire information and skills. In this model, the teacher (facilitator, change-agent, consultant) prepares a set of procedures for involving the learners in a process that includes (a) establishing a climate conducive to learning, (b) creating a mechanism for mutual planning, (c) diagnosing the needs of learning, (d) formulating program objectives (content) that will satisfy these needs, (e) designing a pattern of learning experiences, (f) conducting these learning experiences with suitable techniques and materials, and (g) evaluating the learning outcomes and re-diagnosing learning needs (Holmes & Abington-Cooper, 2000, para. 17).

Project-based learning with a focus on authentic, real world problems, networked learning, and use of collaborative digital tools would fit into an Andragogical orientation.

A growing number of educators are heralding the arrival of an era of technology-enhanced PBL. Using educational software and online tools to promote learning is nothing new in most schools. Many teachers remember the days of steering students to educational internet sites and having them present reports in PowerPoint. Now, teachers and students can choose from an ever-expanding cornucopia of digital tools that enable a new level of collaboration, analysis, and presentations (Schachter, 2013, para. 6).

Figure X.4. Education 2.0 Learning Environment

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An andragogical, constructivist learning environment typically has the following characteristics:

  1. Constructivist learning environments provide multiple representations of reality.
  2. These representations represent that complexity of the real world.
  3. Knowledge construction is emphasized over knowledge reproduction.
  4. Learners participate in authentic tasks in meaningful contexts.
  5. Real world settings are provided.
  6. Thoughtful reflection on experience is encouraged.
  7. Collaboration and social negotiation is encouraged among learners.
  8. There’s an integration and activation of prior knowledge.
  9. Discovery learning, collaborative activity, and hands-on activities are often integrated into the learning activities. (Abdal-Haqq, 1998; Jonassen, 1994 as cited in Learning Theories/Print Version, n.d)

Education 3.0: A Heutagogical, Connectivist Approach to Teaching and Learning

Web 3.0 is affording us with relevant, interactive and networked content that is freely and readily available and personalized based on individual interests.

Web 3.0 will provide users with richer and more relevant experiences. Many also believe that with Web 3.0, every user will have a unique Internet profile based on that user’s browsing history. Web 3.0 will use this profile to tailor the browsing experience to each individual (Strickland, 2008, para. 15). Web 3.0 will be able to search tags and labels and return the most relevant results back to the user (Strickland, 2008, para. 30).

Education 3.0 is based on this understanding – a personalized, self-determined education. Education 3.0 is self-determined, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation, and creativity drive education.

Education 3.0 is characterized by educational opportunities where the learners themselves play a key role as creators of knowledge artifacts that are shared, and where social networking and social benefits play a strong role in learning. The distinction between artifacts, people and process becomes blurred, as do distinctions of space and time. Institutional arrangements, including policies and strategies, change to meet the challenges of opportunities presented. There is an emphasis on learning and teaching processes with the breakdown of boundaries (between teachers and students, institutions, and disciplines (Keats & Schmidt, 2007, para. 9).

Figure X.6: Education 3.0: Learners as Connectors, Creators, Constructivists

gerstein 6 pic

Education 3.0 is also about the three Cs but a different set – connectors, creators, constructivists. These are qualitatively different than the three Cs of Education 2.0. Now they are nouns which translates into the art of being a self-determined learner rather than “doing” learning as facilitated by the educator. The learners become the authors, drivers, and assessors of their learning experiences with the educator truly being the guide on the side.

In the absence of a more relevant learning process in schools, our nation’s students increasingly are taking their educational destiny into their own hands and adapting the various tools they use in their personal lives to meet their learning needs and prepare themselves for the future, according to the 2009 Speak Up survey of 300,000 students nationwide. This “free-agent learner” student profile accurately depicts the way many of today’s students are approaching learning. For these students, the school house, the teacher and the textbook no longer have an exclusive monopoly on knowledge, content or even the education process. These students are leveraging a wide range of learning resources, tools, applications, outside experts and each other to create a personalized learning experience that may or may not include what is happening in the classroom   (Project Tomorrow, 2010, p. 1).

Learners already possess many skills related to self-determined learning due to their informal learning experiences interacting with the web. Educators can and should assist learners in transferring these abilities and skills in more formal learning settings. With Education 3.0, the educator’s role truly becomes that of guide-as-the-side, coach, resource-suggester, and cheerleader as learners create their own learning journey. The educator has more life experience, knows (hopefully) about the process of learning, and has more procedural knowledge about how to find, identify, and use informational resources and social networking for learning purposes. Not only, then, does the educator help steer students in some more productive directions, s/he models the process of self-determined learning increasing the students’ aptitude for this type of learning. Learners, themselves, also become mentors, teachers, and model learners for one another sharing best practices and strategies for effective learning.

Education 3.0: A Heutagogical, Connectivist Approach to Teaching and Learning. Education 3.0 is a more of a heutagogical, connectivist approach to teaching and learning. The teachers, learners, networks, connections, media, resources, tools create a unique entity that has the potential to meet individual learners’, educators’, and even societal needs. Education 3.0 recognizes that each educator’s and student’s journey is unique, personalized, and self-determined.

The heutagogical, connectivist orientation is closely aligned with Education 3.0.

In a heutagogical approach to teaching and learning, learners are highly autonomous and self-determined and emphasis is placed on development of learner capacity and capability. The renewed interest in heutagogy is partially due to the ubiquitousness of Web 2.0, and the affordances provided by the technology. With its learner-centered design, Web 2.0 offers an environment that supports a heutagogical approach, most importantly by supporting development of learner-generated content and learner self-directedness in information discovery and in defining the learning path (Blaschke, 2012, p. 56).

Even though heutagogy is usually defined and described for adult learners, given these times where we are living with open education resources and information abundance , learners as young as the elementary level have the potential to engage in educational experiences based on heutagogy.   In other words, they can engage in self-determined and self-driven learning where they are not only deciding the direction of their learning journey but they can also produce content that adds value and worth to the related content area or field of study.

Added to this equation is that this new landscape of learning has created opportunities for deep, broad, and global connections. George Siemens (2004) has defined the characteristics Connectivism:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision (para. 25).

All of these principles of learning natural lead to Education 3.0. The learners in an Education 3.0, heutagogical, connectivist learning environment:

  • Determine what they want to learn and develop their own learning objectives for their learning, based on a broad range of desired course outcomes.
  • Use their learning preferences and technologies to decide how they will learn.
  • Form their own learning communities possibly using social networking tools suggested and/or set up by the educator. Possible networks, many with corresponding apps, include: Facebook, Twitter, Edmodo, Instagram, Blogging sites, Youtube, and other social networks.
  • Utilize the expertise of educators and other members of their learning communities to introduce content-related resources and suggest Web 2.0 and other online tools for that the students could use to demonstrate and produce learning artifacts.
  • Demonstrate their learning through methods and means that work best for them. It could include using their mobile devices to blog, create photo essays, do screencasts, make videos or podcasts, draw, sing, dance, etc.
  • Take the initiative to seek feedback from educators and their peers. It is their choice to utilize that feedback or not.

Teacher Mindset: Barriers to Change

So given that the that the time is ripe for Education 3.0, that we are in a perfect storm of free and available online resources, tools for creating and sharing information, and networking opportunities, what is stopping administrators and educators from implementing an Education 3.0 approach . . . at least some of the time? Some of the reasons educators profess include: “I don’t have enough time.”; “I don’t have enough resources.”; “I need more training.”; “I need to teach using the textbook.”; “I need to teach to the test.”; “I might lose control of the class.”; “I have always successfully taught this way.”

Figure X.7: Teacher Mindsets: Barriers to change

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These are the symptoms, of a fixed mindset, of educators being both learners and teachers in an Education 1.0. Many educators feel forced into this paradigm of teaching. But, in reality, these are external obstacles whereby most of blame for resisting change is placed outside of educator responsibility. The result is a fixed mindset of learned helplessness, “I cannot change because the system won’t let me change.” Sometimes educators are creating some obstacles for themselves that in reality don’t exist. “Talking them into” or insisting on specific changes often creates more and stronger walls of resistance.

Making the Shift from a Fixed to a Growth Mindset

A mental shift occurs when a fixed mindset which often leads to learned helplessness is changed to a growth and positive mindset, believing that there are options; that one can grow, change, and be significant. It becomes focusing on what can work rather than what is not working. This is not to devalue the obstacles that educators face. It becomes about noting where change is possible and making some small changes in teaching. Small changes often result in larger, more systemic change.

Figure X.8. Moving to a Growth Mindset

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The bottom line, though, is not is what is in the best interests of the teacher, the administration, or the politicians. It is what is in the best interests of the learner. The student should be central to education – not the content, not the tests, not the standards, not what we think students should know and do. Teachers did not become teachers to teach to the test, to develop practice tests or worksheets, to work with pre-scripted curriculum to meet standards. Teachers became teachers to teach students, first and foremost. The learner needs to be central to all teaching endeavors.


Blaschke, L. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 13(1), 56-71. Retrieved from

Essentialism. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Gerstein, J. (2013). Schools are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning Education 3.0. Retrieved from .

Gerstein, J. (2013). Education 3.0: Altering round peg in round hole education. Retrieved from .

Hiemstra, R., & Sisco, B. (1990). Individualizing instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Holmes, G., & Abington-Cooper, M. (2000). Pedagogy vs. andragogy: A false dichotomy? Journal of Technology Studies, 26(2). Retrieved from

Keats, D., & Schmidt, J. (2007). The genesis and emergence of Education 3.0 in higher education and its potential for Africa. First Monday, 12(3). doi:10.5210/fm.v12i3.1625.

Learning Theories/Print version. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Pogue, L.S. (2009).   Instructivism vs, constructivism. Ezine @rticles. Retrieved from

Project Tomorrow. (2010, March). As schools lose relevancy, students take charge of their own learning. Retrieved from

Schachter, R. (2013, December). Schools embrace project-based learning 2.0. District Administrator. Retrieved from

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved from

Strickland, J. (2008, March 8). How web 3.0 will work. Retrieved from

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

December 1, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Growth Mindset: GoBrain and Making a Splash

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A recent interest of mine has been the Growth Mindset.  I have blogged and presented on this topic:

Due to my interests, Carol Reiley contacted me about her initiatives about growth mindsets.  First, from her and her team’s website, GoBrain, is the following:


Second, she wrote a children’s book, Making a Splash, and decided to crowdfund its publication through Kickstarter –

What follows is an interview with Carol about writing and disseminating Making a Splash.

How did you first get interested in the growth mindset?

I’m a PhD student in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. My research is studying how medical students learn to become great surgeons. After I read Carol Dweck’s mindset book, a lot of things resonated with me and changed how I viewed people and myself. It’s a topic relevant to everyone and any age.

I wanted to explore more deeply how someone develops a growth mindset or a fixed mindset . . . and what positive or negative external conditions in life affects mindset-whether it was verbal or nonverbal. It can be as small as a single sentence – for instance, calling a child smart after they did well. That response is so commonplace and carries with it great intentions.  However, it can have the opposite reaction than one had hoped. Calling a child smart can cause them have a fixed mindset and be afraid to try new things since they may fail and therefore be called dumb.  I was curious about interactions that were very subtle but very powerful. Being aware of what these interactions makes a huge difference.

More about my research and growth mindset here:

What are your personal connections to this topic?

I grew up in the “trophy” generation where every child got a trophy for anything they did. At that point, a child’s self-esteem and confidence were valued above learning. Now it’s been shown that self-esteem has very little correlation to anything (success, intelligence, alcoholism, etc). People should really focus on the process of doing things and encourage those who are challenging themselves.

I personally approach life with the attitude of wanting to experience as much of it as possible, even if I fail at times. I hope we develop a culture where that’s okay and is encouraged as long as lessons are learned. I find a lot of people holding themselves back from trying things because of what others think and have regrets later in life. I really wanted everyone to let go of that and just do what will help them become the best people they can be.

Why did you write a book for children?

A growth mindset was something I wish I was aware of earlier on. It helped me realize that I should actively strive for opportunities to grow and learn, even if they are a struggle. After I read the book, I wanted to share the concept with everyone I knew.

I wanted to write not just a book for children to see examples of the benefits of having a growth mindset, but also for anyone that interacts with a child (parents, educators, coaches). I noticed that while everyone wants children to have a growth mindset, there were not many resources that explained how you could develop one, how you should praise a child, what to do when a child is frustrated and wants to give up.

 Why did you decide on a Kickstarter fundraiser?

I never planned on being a children’s book author. After having conversations with a variety of people about mindsets, I sat down as a writing exercise and the rough draft of this children’s story came out. After I shared it with friends, I realized I had to write a supplemental guide since there needed to be a link between the science and the stories.

Instead of going the traditional publishing route, I decided to self-publish since the material was so personal to me and I wanted it done right. This included the visuals by selecting the illustrator myself (traditional publishing houses select the illustrator themselves) and the length and content of the book.

Crowdfunding is an interesting new way that enables creators to connect with people who care about your cause. I’m so glad we met our funding goal because it showed that people do care about the growth mindset and want to learn more. If we didn’t meet our goal, I wouldn’t create the book.

How do foresee parents and teachers using this book?

The first step is to bring awareness start a conversation about the mindset. Interest in the growth mindset has increased. That’s a very good thing! I want children and adults to have open discussions during story time and start being aware of their behavior and move towards a more positive learning experience.

What are in your plans as a next step after the book is produced and distributed?

I want there will be more connections between the cool work being done in research and the general public. In particular, I want to focus on helping children develop scientific thinking by asking thoughtful questions and gaining an inquisitive mind. I’d love to see math and science explained in a easy to understand and accessible manner since some people shy away from those subjects since they don’t think they’re naturally good at it. I hope they develop a growth mindset and see it as a chance to learn about exciting new things.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

November 26, 2014 at 8:10 pm

The Mindset of the Maker Educator: K12 Online Conference Presentation+Slides

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Here is my presentation, The Mindset of the Maker Educator, that I recorded for the K12 Online Conference:

Slidedeck for The Mindset of the Maker Educator:

Here is a direct link to my K12 Online Conference Presentation:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

November 8, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Experiential Learning: Is there really a question about this?

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The things we have to learn before we do them, we learn by doing them. Aristotle

Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results. John Dewey

My training as an educator occurred through experiential education rather than the traditional route.  Experiential Education is based on the following principles as articulated by the Association for Experiential Education:

  • Experiential learning occurs when carefully chosen experiences are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis.
  • Experiences are structured to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.
  • Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner2 is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning.
  • Learners are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, soulfully and/or physically. This involvement produces a perception that the learning task is authentic.
  • The results of the learning are personal and form the basis for future experience and learning.
  • Relationships are developed and nurtured: learner to self, learner to others and learner to the world at large.
  • The educator and learner may experience success, failure, adventure, risk-taking and uncertainty, because the outcomes of experience cannot totally be predicted.
  • Opportunities are nurtured for learners and educators to explore and examine their own values.
  • The educator’s primary roles include setting suitable experiences, posing problems, setting boundaries, supporting learners, insuring physical and emotional safety, and facilitating the learning process.
  • The educator recognizes and encourages spontaneous opportunities for learning.
  • Educators strive to be aware of their biases, judgments and pre-conceptions, and how these influence the learner.
  • The design of the learning experience includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes and successes. (

I know no other way of teaching.  Knowing the powerful results of experiential education, it confuses me as to why more (if not all) educators don’t teach this way.  In the graphic below, the images in the left column are learners from my own classrooms, the images on the right symbolize more traditional approaches in educational institutions.  As “A picture says a 1000 words,” the expressions of the learners say engagement, interest, joy, and learning.  Which do you want your students, your children to experience at school?


Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm

How Language Affects Our Teaching Practices

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I had the privilege of hearing two Native American women, Rina Swentzell and Tessie Naranjo, talk about their mission to “save” the Tewa language from extinction.  What was profound about their talk was their discussion of the power that language has to influence how we think and what we do; and that language is culturally determined.

Rina Swentzell posed the following questions during her talk:

  • What is our relationship to words?
  • How does language connect us?
  • How does language become representative of our hearts?


Dr. Swentzell went on to contrast Tewa to the English language.  Tewa language is softer, European languages harsher and harder.  Tewa language focuses on verbs; as a doing-ness.  European language emphasizes noun – the things.  Tewa is inclusive, European languages often are not.  She also discussed how very similar words have different meanings,  For example, the Tewa words for to teach and to learn are closely related to “to breath”.  She also wondered, “How does English affect our thinking and change us?”

Guy Deutscher author of “Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages” notes:

When your language routinely obliges you to specify certain types of information, it forces you to be attentive to certain details in the world and to certain aspects of experience that speakers of other languages may not be required to think about all the time. And since such habits of speech are cultivated from the earliest age, it is only natural that they can settle into habits of mind that go beyond language itself, affecting your experiences, perceptions, associations, feelings, memories and orientation in the world.

As an educational reformer, this lead me to give more thought about the language used for educational culture in the United States and how this language affects teaching and learning practices.  Some common educational terminology includes (a sampling):

  • Standards
  • Objectives
  • High Stakes Tests
  • “Class” room
  • Accountability
  • Schedule
  • Benchmarks
  • Mastery
  • Methodology
  • Performance-Based

This words, as analyzed in relation to Dr. Swentzell’s comments, are nouns, do not focus on the doing-ness or actions that can/should be taken by administrators, teachers, and students, are non-nurturing, and do not emphasize relationship.

So maybe, as in line with the language of the Tewa, the discussions surrounding education could/should focus on the verbs, on the doing-ness of administrators, educators, and learners with each other, the content, and the world-at-large. A sampling of action verbs for education include:

  • Teach
  • Learn
  • Think
  • Give
  • Plan
  • Support
  • Experience
  • Engage
  • Inspire
  • Inquire
  • Change
  • Grow
  • Discuss
  • Dissect
  • Affirm
  • Analyze
  • Relate
  • Empathize
  • Connect
  • Create


Such intentional use of language would, as research suggests, change the way we think about and ultimately DO education.

Math teacher, Jason Faulkner , How We Talk About Education Shows What It Means To Us reflects on how his thinking about education affects his teaching practices.

As I reflect on how this narrative is told in my own classroom, Parker Palmer’s words weigh heavily on my heart. As the teacher, one who Palmer calls “the mediator between the knower and the known, the living link in the epistemological chain,” do I not surreptitiously perpetuate an “epistemological error” in my classroom whenever I present knowledge as something to possess or control or master, rather than as a gift to love?

Those serious about educational reform based at putting the learner at the center, need to take a long, critical, dissecting examination at the terminology we use to explain teaching and learning.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 18, 2014 at 3:08 pm


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