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Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    Highly recommended for educators

    In his book, Education Nation, Chen argues that the focus of education has changed. Today's students need to be able to do more than just regurgitate information. They must know how to find information, assess its quality, and then use it to accomplish a goal. He also believes that social-emotional learning has become more important because in today's world students must be able to cooperate and collaborate, often with people very different from themselves. Unfortunately, he argues, our schools have not yet adapted to his paradigm shift.

    Chen argues that there are six leading "edges" that are challenging today's education system. The edges include: The Thinking Edge, The Curriculum Edge, The Technology Edge, The Time/Place Edge, The Co-Teaching Edge, and the Youth Edge. Two of the six edges, "The Thinking Edge" and the "Time/Place Edge" call for America to modernize its thinking about education and explore the possibilities of teaching in the 21st century. The chapters on "The Curriculum Edge" and "The Technology Edge" focus on rethinking what students are taught, how student learning is assessed, and the kinds of tools teachers use. Finally,"The Co-Teaching Edge" and "The Youth Edge" revision the traditional classroom.

    In terms of its implications for educators, I see this book as a call to action. Chen has a great line in the introduction where he says, "In the Olympics of school systems, we are world champions of educational inertia" (4). In some ways, I find his work to be similar to Linda Darling-Hammond's The Flat World and Education. The problems with America's schools are well documented, but it seems we have taken a piecemeal approach to reform. His examples are similar to Darling-Hammond's where he identifies isolated examples of what change should look like. Clearly, it does not appear that changes are going to be coming from the top down, but this book can help educators develop specific proposals for innovation and change, allowing the transformation to begin to occur from the ground up instead.

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    Posted July 18, 2011

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    Posted July 8, 2011

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