Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Learning from _Drive_

Daniel Pink's book Drive has been recommended to us many times, but we've been so obsessed with Frank Moss' The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices that we hadn't had time to pick it up. That changed recently, and now we feel compelled to share some of the fascinating ideas in the book that directly mesh with our philosophies. For a test drive of Drive (don't worry, we won't bombard you with driving puns; we promise to use them sparingly.), check out the RSA Animate video narrated by Pink:

Chapter One of Drive

As you may know, RealSchool is all about student-driven, passion-based learning, and so we were immediately taken with Pink's notion that jobs in the 21st century have become and will continue to become "more complex, more interesting, and more self-directed."

Pink writes:

Behavioral scientists often divide what we do on the job or learn in school into two categories: "algorithmic" and "heuristic." An algorithmic task is one in which you follow a set of established instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion. That is, there's an algorithm for solving it. A heuristic task is the opposite. Precisely because no algorithm exists for it, you have to experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution. Working as a grocery clerk is mostly algorithmic. You do pretty much the same thing over and over in a certain way. Creating an ad campaign is heuristic. You have to come up with something new. 

During the twentieth century, most work was algorithmic . . . . The consulting firm McKinsey and Co. estimates that in the United States, only 30 percent of job growth now comes from algorithmic work, while 70 percent comes from heuristic work. A key reason: Routine work can be outsourced or automated; artistic, empathic, nonroutine work generally cannot. . . .

Partly because work has become more creative and less routine, it has also become more enjoyable. (27-29)

And . . .

Routine, not-so-interesting jobs require direction; non-routine, more interesting work depends on self-direction [our italics] (30).

So! What are educators doing to make sure their classrooms are not places where algorithmic tasks take place, but rather where students participate in heuristic, creative, and self-directed work?

Additional Resources

We recommend reading Scott McLeod's blog Dangerously Irrelevant, for constant updates on what's good and what's still bad in the world of education today.

RealSchool Update: Food Day and our Consolidated Tech Team

Amitai created this awesome logo for Super Food Day!
Talia and Marni encouraged Frisch students to eat superfoods
Tsipora and Arianna got stickers saying "I Ate a Superfood" . . . 
. . . as did Solomon, shown here with his Superfood, oats!

Food Day is one of Health and Environment's favorite days. This year the H and E team focused on Superfoods, working with the Frisch cafeteria chef Kim Anderson to create a menu that included as many Superfoods as possible. Kim even made special blueberry smoothies for the day, since blueberries are a Superfood (did you know they help maintain good vision?). The H and E team, along with Mrs. Wiener's English class, prepared flyers with nutritional facts about the Superfoods, and we even translated the Superfoods into multiple languages, including Hebrew, Spanish, French, Russian, and Ukranian (thanks to Michelle G. for the last two and for Morah Dafna, an awesome Hebrew teacher at Frisch, for teaching the Superfoods in Hebrew!).

Morah Dafna (right) gets in the Food Day spirit
by teaching the Superfoods in Hebrew!
Rabbi Ciner loved the logo for Superfood Day so much -- thanks to Amitai for the amazing Super Cougar, who's based on the Green Lantern -- that he asked us to make a poster with it, so the Health and Environment team is now working on a permanent poster for the Frisch cafeteria, listing the nutritional benefits of Superfoods and including Amitai's Super Cougar.

OK, the froyo isn't soo healthy, but check out the salad: it's got spinach AND broccoli!

The Tech Team

This year, we merged all our tech teams -- App Making, Graphic Design, Video Production, and Web Design -- into one. Not everyone interested in the different technologies is working on everything, but streamlining has made these RS teams more efficient and productive. This past Monday, the Tech team met and accomplished the following:

1) The Graphic Design group is finishing up the logos so we can update our website with student-made logos. We're excited that Ari's brother Oren has now taken off where his brother left off with RealSchool's website design and maintenance!

Here's a sneak peek at one of our newly-designed logos, by Jamie Lebovics, who's been making logos for RS since it began:

A graphical representation of the Fibonacci sequence will be our Arts team logo.
The Arts team created an exhibit on the Fibonacci sequence
 for RealSchool's first Yom Iyun in March 2012.

2) An article about an app the App Making team created will be published this Friday in The Jewish Link. We'll be posting that as soon as it appears!

3) Simmy is spearheading the making of a music video for those interested in video production. The song the Tech team chose to work with is "Gold on the Ceiling" by The Black Keys.

4) Amitai is learning HTML, so stay tuned for our plans for Coding Hour this December!