How a Science Star Could Be Made? – How a Soccer Star Is Made

The latest version of an Olympic Development Program for Soccer–funded by Adidas–let’s create a generation of uneducated professional soccer-playing teenagers! Maybe we need to “DECOUPLE” math and science education from High School too… maybe we do!*

But the decoupling of soccer education from higher education is an avowed goal of executives at the top levels of the American game. M.L.S. has been signing about a dozen young players a year — some from its teams’ academies, others who have already played a year or two in college — and putting them either on pro rosters or into development programs. Under this setup, called Generation Adidas, money is put aside for players’ future college tuitions. The academies of M.L.S. teams have begun to abandon the pay-for-play model and are bearing nearly all costs, including travel, for their players.

via Magazine Preview – How a Soccer Star Is Made –

* and recouple it with colleges? or high school science stars?

Startup America-An Innovation Movement- More Steve Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs –

Obama should launch his own moon shot. What the country needs most now is not more government stimulus, but more stimulation. We need to get millions of American kids, not just the geniuses, excited about innovation and entrepreneurship again. We need to make 2010 what Obama should have made 2009: the year of innovation, the year of making our pie bigger, the year of “Start-Up America.”Obama should make the centerpiece of his presidency mobilizing a million new start-up companies that won’t just give us temporary highway jobs, but lasting good jobs that keep America on the cutting edge. The best way to counter the Tea Party movement, which is all about stopping things, is with an Innovation Movement, which is all about starting things. Without inventing more new products and services that make people more productive, healthier or entertained — that we can sell around the world — we’ll never be able to afford the health care our people need, let alone pay off our debts.

vOp-Ed Columnist – More Steve Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs –

DRAFT: Learning Zones (Active Learning Design™) vs Traditional Classroom


UCSD 21st Century “Learning Zone (“I.T. Creativity”)  vs. Traditional Classroom

“Show the children excellence the first day, give them the material, the time, and the coaching
they need to achieve it, then get out of their way. You will become an aid in their natural desire to increase their powers—rather than Mr. or Ms. “Makework”— and their performance and capacity for hard work will amaze you.”

Math & Science Olympics (Active Learning Design™) vs. Traditional Classroom

1. What Children Do In Class

Affect on Children & Teacher

IT Creativity


on Children
& Teacher

  • Children Work
  • Teacher Coaches
    Student “Players,” Improving Their “Game.”

Children & Learning Goals in Center

Teacher in Center

  • Children
  • Teacher (the “fount of all knowledge”) Talks
  • Children
    are Active
  • Children
    Soon Take Responsibility for Finishing “Their” Projects
  • Children
    are Independent Learners & Workers
  • Teacher is Freed to Coach

Children Shown the Entire Prepared
Path to Excellence
on Day One:

Linked Project “Trees”:

  1. Clear Goals: Visual Learning Path
  2. Choice: Order, Difficulty, Optional Projects
  3. Clear, Timely Feedback: Project Checklists, Orals
  4. Next Challenge Always Waiting: Extra Credit, Progressive Projects
  5. Meaningful Work: real-world power

Children Wait to be Told What Comes Next; Work seems Disconnected:

Isolated Assignments

  • Children
  • Children
    Often Restless
  • Work
    Often Appears to be “Makework” Leading Nowhere
  • Teacher Uses time & Energy to Keep Children in their Seats & “On-task.”
  • Children
    Receive a Great Deal of Face to Face Time with an Adult—
  • Individualized
  • Children
    Learn from Their Teacher-Coach

Teachers Spend Most of Class time Talking to Groups of
Six Children or Less

Teachers Spend Most of Class time talking to Entire

  • Children
    Spend (On Average) 5 min.s per day talking one-on-one with an Adult.
  • Children
    Receive Little Individualized Instruction.
  • Children
    Learn from Peers & Media
  • Children
    gain collaboration and communication skills
  • Research
    Shows “Thinking Out Loud” While Working Helps Children Join Concrete to

Children Talk to Other Students as They Work On
Project-Challenges in Group

Children Sit Silently as They Listen and Watch

  • Children
    Miss Chance to Learn Collaboration Skills.
  • Children
    have no Chance in school to Develop
    their Problem-Solving “Inner voice”.
  • Problem Solvers

Children Discover Solutions Themselves

Children Are Told the “Right” Answer

  • Memorizers


2. Teaching Methods and Tools

Affect on Children & Teacher

IT Creativity

Traditional Classroom–>

on Children
& Teacher

  • Children
    gain an intuitive understanding of abstract concepts

Children Always Begin
with the Concrete, then Move to the Abstract & Symbolic

Children Often Receive
an Abstract & Symbolic Introduction to Topics

  • Children often never really understand abstractions
    like place value or negative number
  • Children gain physical
    intuition about scientific, engineering, and mathematical concepts

Most Activities are
“The hand is the
instrument of the intellect.”

Most Activities are
Paper & Pencil.

  • Children develop little
    physical intuition about math and science concepts
  • Children Practice Core
    IT Concepts & Skills Over & Over— And are Never Given a Chance
    to Forget
  • Children Master
    Difficult Concepts in a Series of Small Conquests

All Work is Linked
Together in Step-by-Step Progression:

  • From Concrete to Abstract
  • From Fundamental to Complex
  • From Easier to More Difficult
  • Children See the Point
    of the Work: Earlier Project Success Leads to Success on Current Project

Skills & Concepts
from Earlier Projects Used to Complete of Later Projects

Skills & Concepts
From One Unit or Textbook Chapter Are Sometimes Not Seen Again for Months

  • Children Forget old
    work while learning new
  • Children Often Fail to
    See the Point of the Work
  • With Mind Tools like Roamer™ Children
    Can Explore Their Environment Creatively, Testing and Refining Concepts as
    They Go
  • Roamer’s behavior is
    the direct result of the children’s actions. Children are encouraged to learn
    more and more (programming, mathematics, science): they see their increasing
    power reflected in the new “tricks” they can teach Roamer™ as they learn
IT TEACHING TOOLS:(Levels 1-5)Roamer Programmable Robot: (mutli-use: a concrete introduction to logic, mathematics,
science, and many other subjects*)

Math Manipulatives:

(Level 3-5)

One PC Computer +
Software for Modeling and Solving Roamer
Programming ProblemsMaterials for
Electricity and Electronics
Devices, Sensors, Robotics, and Motors

Handouts; Paper &
Pencil; Computers &  “Edu-cational” Software; Manufactured
“Hands-on” Educational Devices

(Limited to rigid or prescribed uses or behaviors;
mysterious “Black Boxes” which children are given to play with or learn from
but which they do not understand

  • Few Chances for Creative Problem-Solving or
  • School must buy many special use materials.
  • Children are passive
    before the invisible programmer: they click icons instead of learning logic
    and math; or instead of increasing their vocabulary by mastering new concepts
  • Children have little
    long term interest in and learn little from these “educational” toys .

3. Assessment

Affect on Children & Teacher

IT Creativity

Traditional Classroom–>

on Children
& Teacher

  • Children See Their Increasing Power Growing With Every Project
    Passed as They “Climb the Tree”
  • They get immediate
    feedback (coaching) on errors and can go right to work correcting them
Feedback is Integrated, Visual (Project Tree), & Timely (In-Class Orals)

Children Pass Each Project They Earn the Right to Color Its Box)

Feedback is Piecemeal, Abstract (82, 91, 89, 94), and
Often Delayed

Report Card

Science- 91

English- 89

History- 82

Math-    94

  • Children Wait Till
    Assignments are Returned or Until They Receive A Report Card to Learn of
    Their Success o
    r Failure
  • Children
    try again and again until they achieve real, age-appropriate competence &

Children Take

Pass/Try Again Oral Exams

on Every

(And, Beginning in Level 2, Written
Exams after Every Project Tree)

Children Receive “Exact” Grades on Work, Then Move on
to the Next Assignment

  • Grading puts an end to
  • Children often Move on to Despite Failure
  • Children Try to Meet
    Standards of Excellence
  • Children begin to
    judge their own work (Critical Thinking): Is it ready to present for an
    Oral Exam?
    Have I met all the
    standards—and gone beyond (for extra credit)?
Criteria for Project Credit are Clear, Publicly Posted.

  • Demonstrate Success
  • Pass Oral Exit Exam
  • Record Results

Grading is Subjective, Often Mysterious: inside the
Teacher’s Head

  • Children Try to Please
  • Teacher Does the
    Grading and Judging of All Work

4. Student Achievement

Affect on Children & Teacher

IT Creativity


on Children
& Teacher

  • All chilren master
    basic IT Learning Skills.
  • Each has the
    opportunity to blossom  (use the
    skills) in a unique way
All Children Master Core Concepts & Skills (Mathematical-Logical &
; Individual Children Choose Their Own Projet Tree
Branches Based On Unique Talents (Artistic, Musical, Mathematical, Etc.)

“Many Paths to Beauty”

All Children Do the Same Work (Heavy Emphasis on
Mathematical-Logical & Linguistic Skills in Traditional Curriculum)

  • Many (non
    mathematical-linguistic) talents are wasted, discouraged.
  • Quickest Children
    Never Have to Wait for Class to Catch Up
  • By Their Presence,
    Example, & Peer-Teaching, The Best Students Pull the Average Student
    Higher Up the Tree Behind Them
  • Excitement,
    Exploration, Constant New Challenges; Cooperation & Helping Classmates

The Best Students Climb Highest Up the Tree

The Best Students Wait for Others to Finish—or
Are Separated into “Gifted” Classes

  • Frustration,
    Boredom—or the Creation of “Smart vs. Dumb” Classes.
  • Students Complete More
    Work Than Traditional Schedule Allows;
  • Explore More Areas
    Than Traditional Curriculum
  • All Students Are Stretched and Enabled to Develop to
    Their Potential.
  • Thinks “Outside the Box”: With Optional Projects Teacher Can Set Difficult Goals
    For the Best or Most Motivated Students to Complete Outside of Scheduled
    Class Time AND Outside of Teacher Competence
  • E.g: Optional Music Projects: A Teacher with no musical talent can still
    set musical goals:—“Compose a Tune”—& Reward Children who
    achieve them.

Limited By Schedule & Teacher’s Special Knowledge
& Skills

  • Students Rarely
    Complete the Scheduled Goals;
  • Students Find No Outlet for Unique Talents  (except in Specialty
    Classes—Music, Art—where these exist)

5. Preparation/ Record Keeping

Affect on Children & Teacher

IT Creativity


on Children
& Teacher

  • Teacher is Confident, Prepared; Free to
    Concentrate on real job: coaching students to improve their understanding
    & performance ….lift their achievement of the prepared standards/furth
    along path

Most Teacher Preparation Done in Summer:

  • Every Project is Scheduled on the Academic Calendar,
    With a Begin Date
    (Teacher Gives Project
    & “Due” Date (Teacher Begins Giving Oral Exams) Set
  • All Materials are in place
  • All Oral Exam Checklists & Written Exams are
  • Quick, Visual Grading Record System is In Place
Lesson Planning is often done as the year goes by.
  • Teacher feels rushed
    for time, overworked, harassed
  • Teacher Has Time to
    Concentrate on Perfecting Demonstrations & On Thinking About How to Get
    the Most Out of
    Individual Students
Most Grading Done In-Class (except for some written optional projects & the
periodic written exams)
Much of Grading is Done After School
  • Teacher’s Time &
    Energy Spent in the Drudgery of Checking Handouts and Tests instead of
    Becoming a Better Coach

6. Summary

Affect on Children & Teacher



on Children
& Teacher

  • Children
    become enthusiastic lifelong IT learners—confident problem solvers able
    to survive & thrive in rapidly evolving Information Technology Societies

Child is Given Both Creative Freedom AND IT Learning
Skills (Freedom & Rigor)

Children Required to Follow a Rigid Academic Schedule
& Script.

  • Children often become alienated
    from school and lose their natural love of learning.
  • Teacher:
    Exhilaration, Satisfaction, Invigoration:“Another Good Day of 100% Learning—I Could Barely Keep Up With the Kids

Teacher is Allowed to be an Enabler

Teacher is Often Forced to Be a Controller

  • Teacher Often Feels Fatique & Tension;
    Often Experiences Days of Uneven Success: 1 good hour of work, 2 bad, 2 good,
    1 bad, etc; Often feels Dissatisfaction.

* For more on the powerful teaching qualities
of the Roamer™ robot, see Appendix A: “Pedagogical Advantages of Roamer™”

Brain Power – Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them

“This is what we believe focused math education does: It sharpens the firing of these quantity neurons,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Collège de France in Paris and author of the books “The Number Sense” and “Reading and the Brain.” The firing of the number neurons becomes increasingly more selective to single quantities, he said; and these cells apparently begin to communicate with neurons across the brain in language areas, connecting precise quantities to words: “two,” “ten,” “five.”

via Brain Power – Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them – Series –

A similar honing process is thought to occur when young children begin to link letter shapes and their associated sounds. Cells in the visual cortex wired to recognize shapes specialize in recognizing letters; these cells communicate with neurons in the auditory cortex as the letters are associated with sounds.

The process may take longer to develop than many assume. A study published in March by neuroscientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands suggested that the brain does not fully fuse letters and sounds until about age 11.

Gates Foundation Ed Leader: It’s all about the teacher | Oregon Education –

Gates and Phillips now openly admit: School structure is not the key. (Parents and educators in Portland Public School make use that same line about Phillips’ main, and unfinished, initiative while in PPS: creating K-8 schools in place of middle schools.)

So, the foundation now plans to pour at least half a billion dollars into a teacher quality initiative.

via Ex-Portland Superintendent: It’s all about the teacher | Oregon Education –