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Linked Learning's Aha MomentPosted on September 30, 2015 at 10:26pm by Gary Hoachlander

There’s nothing like an experiential site visit to give leaders and educators an aha moment when it comes to understanding the power of Linked Learning pathways.

We sponsored our first experiential site visit in February 2007 at Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School in Sacramento. A group of about 100 policymakers, educators, and researchers “went to school,” experiencing first hand how high quality Linked Learning prepares young people for lasting success in both college and career. The day was so powerful that since then, in partnership with nine districts that made up the initial California Linked Learning District Initiative, we’ve helped sponsor dozens of additional visits.

I’m pleased to say that over the next six months, we have three site visits coming up.

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The Value of the Linked Learning CertificatePosted on September 30, 2015 at 5:02pm by Ted Aquino

“I saw the graduate certificate as a capstone, a tangible way to show my Linked Learning expertise,” says Tiffany Holliday, a recent graduate of San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Linked Learning Graduate Certificate program.

Dr. Nancy Farnan, the certificate program coordinator and creator, describes the program as "specifically designed to be in support of the Linked Learning field and the professionals within it." Dr. Farnan, Linked Learning champion and Interim Associate Dean of the College of Education, envisioned a program that served two needs -- the desire for Linked Learning practitioners to develop and expand their Linked Learning knowledge and the demand for individuals with high-level pathway expertise to work in the Linked Learning field.

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What did you learn this summer?Posted on August 28, 2015 at 5:04pm by Gary Hoachlander

What did you do this summer? When I was growing up, that was the standard question upon returning to school. Not anymore. If you are committed to Linked Learning, the relevant question is: What did you learn this summer?

This summer, I started to learn more from the young people on our staff at ConnectEd. So far, through “walk and talks,” informal two-mile strolls through the nearby Berkeley campus, I’ve listened to three young people on our staff  recount their “pathways” from high school through college to career.

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Beyond Gold Stars – Digital badges have potential inside and outside the classroomPosted on August 7, 2015 at 12:33am by Ted Aquino

In fifth grade, my teacher gave us gold stars for certain behaviors and actions. I loved to see gold stars accumulate next to my name. We would receive gold stars for perfect attendance and completing homework assignments. At the end of the month, students who finished in the top five received a reward. And the reward was always delicious. In today’s classroom there is a growing movement to bring back the best of “gold stars.” However, the concept has been reimagined by innovators as digital badges, which indicate a student’s accomplishments, completion of tasks, skills and interests in various learning environments.

We are bringing digital badges to ConnectEd Studios, our digital platform for students, teachers and district administrators because we see badging as a way to both incentivize a student’s performance and inform a teacher’s instruction. Ben Crosby, ConnectEd’s Senior Program Associate, is on the team that is designing digital badges. He explains, “For badges to be meaningful, they need to be tied to demonstrated competencies.” This means that I wouldn’t receive a badge for the action of completing my homework assignment. Rather I would earn one for showing that I understood and learned the material the assignment covered. Badging systems are meant to reward and celebrate when a student reaches learning outcomes or demonstrates a skill.

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Sneak Peek Into 100 LivesPosted on July 29, 2015 at 7:52pm by Gary Hoachlander

Gary Hoachlander

Think back to high school. How would you have answered, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Now ask yourself, how many opportunities did you have to go to workplaces and see what adults actually do?

For almost every middle and high school student, imagining possible career opportunities can be daunting. And think about the young people who are traditionally underserved, misunderstood and systematically denied the resources and opportunities that the more privileged among us experience. It’s even harder for them to know what possible career fields exist, and to see ways that those careers could align with their passions.

That’s why ConnectEd produces Day in the Life videos. In less than five minutes, these videos provide a window into the world of work, which for far too many young people seems foreign and inaccessible.

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How can new funds encourage CTE and academic collaboration?Posted on June 25, 2015 at 7:55pm by Gary Hoachlander

I am delighted that the Governor and the Legislature reached agreement on the 2015-16 budget, which will provide an additional $900 million for career and technical education (CTE). For the Linked Learning field, this is good news. CTE is a critical component of Linked Learning pathways preparing young people for both college and career.

But it’s not enough to have three or four great CTE courses. We have to make sure that the other twenty plus courses students take during high school are more engaging, and more strongly grounded in real-world application. And CTE courses need to interact with these academic classes in ways that are mutually reinforcing and that help students make strong connections between academic and technical expertise.

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Explore Different CareersPosted on June 19, 2015 at 11:28pm by Ted Aquino

Have you wondered what life would be like if you were a cartoonist? What about a software engineer in the Silicon Valley? Feed your curiosity with our Day in the Life videos. You’ll see inspiring people from all walks of life describe how they landed where they are and what it’s like to be there.

Click on “view full post” to see our most recent videos.

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Professor Delivers BabyPosted on May 29, 2015 at 4:05pm by Gary Hoachlander

Kaiser Permanente Garfield Innovation Center workshopDuring the East Bay Career Pathways Convening a couple weeks ago, I visited Kaiser Permanente’s Garfield Innovation Center.

What a remarkable facility for teaching and learning! It replicates the major functions and services that a hospital performs and creates a space where the entire care process can be analyzed, role-played and tested. For example, there’s an admissions office, an operating room, a labor and delivery room with sophisticated mannequins that can simulate routine and emergency scenarios. In fact, my friend and colleague, David Stern, had the chance to temporarily convert his PhD into an MD and successfully delivered a baby!

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I am not a teacher, but an awakenerPosted on May 5, 2015 at 11:31pm by Ted Aquino

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re inspired by poet Robert Frost. When Robert Frost said, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener,” he was describing a philosophy of teaching that refutes simply filling students with facts. During Frost’s nearly 50 years of teaching, he was able to influence his students because his approach focused on developing their ability to think critically and generate their own ideas. Robert strove to be the type of teacher that "gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies."

Teachers help students to open their own minds and see the possibilities ahead. For example, Keith Knight had never thought of pursuing his passion for doodling as a career until a teacher told him, "You should be totally doing a syndicated cartoon.” That teacher shone a light on a path that Keith did not know existed. As a result, Keith dashed forward, becoming a nationally syndicated cartoonist. In the Day in the Life video here, Keith describes his pathway.

During teacher appreciation week, please join us in celebrating educators worldwide. They inspire students on a daily basis, thereby awakening our students to future possibilities.

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Linking Art and MathematicsPosted on April 17, 2015 at 10:08pm by Gary Hoachlander

Meet Wyna Liu, a young mixed media sculptor and fabricator I met at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. She combines mathematics, digital fabrication techniques and “fussy hand finishing” to produce sculptures inspired by Platonic solids, Penrose tiling, two-dimensional geometry and three-dimensional space.

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