Education innovation playlist

Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger: “[Most theories of learning] are merely theories of teaching.”

Lave and Wenger point out that teaching and learning are different things. So often, they explain, people study teaching and assume they are studying learning. People also assume teaching must happen for learning to occur. While teaching is important, Lave and Wenger highlight the so-obvious-I-can’t-believe-we-ever-talked-about-things-otherwise truth that learning and teaching are independent phenomena and should be understood separately.

Chris Dede: “There is no learning without motivation.”

Chris Dede’s classes have been the highlight of my graduate school experience. Every spring, he teaches a class called, “Motivation and Learning: Technologies that Invite and Immerse,” which I feel is the best course at HGSE.

Jal Mehta: “The periphery is more powerful than the core.”

Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine co-wrote a book called In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School. They spent five years studying American high schools in search of transformative learning experiences, what they call “deeper learning.”

Pierre Dillenbourg: “Does it work well in the classroom?”

Pierre Dillenbourg was a guest speaker in a class I took last spring and since then I’ve taken the liberty of watching everything he’s ever said on YouTube. I love the way he integrates the practical concerns of teachers and learners with theoretical constructs about learning into everything he does.

David Perkins: “Playing the whole game at a junior level”

David Perkins compares his childhood experiences of learning baseball by playing the “whole game” to school experiences that are usually characterized by what he calls “elementitis.” He explains the problem with this approach, “You don’t learn to play baseball by a year of batting practice, but in learning math, for instance, students are all too often presented with prescribed problems with only one right solution and no clear indication how they connect with the real world” (Perkins, 2009).

Seymour Papert: “They reinvent the ideas as they use them.”

In the below video Seymour Papert explains the basic premise of constructionism, a learning theory he championed. The gist of his message is that people don’t learn things because they are told about them; people learn things by creating knowledge in their own heads by using ideas to build things and solve problems in the real world.



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