Wednesday, October 29, 2008

INFORMS our UNDERSTANDING (Model the Practice)

Image links to the Video: Sir Ken Robinson on the Power of the Imaginative Mind
Sir Ken Robinson on stage talking.

YAPO CLC Board Meeting November 5, 2008 5:30PM AGENDA

We are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 5:30 p.m. at the Yapo CLC boardroom (smile).

Please reply to this e-mail if you will not be able to make our meeting or if you would like add an agenda item (You can also add agenda items via "comments" or by "editing" this post)

To the IT committee:

Please prepare the following for discussion at the meeting:

1. A list of desired/required equipment for the CLC

2. A step-by-step demonstration how to best utilize the Yapo CLC blog site.

Also, I will need an update on the Yapo CLC website.

Looking forward to seeing you next week.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Deep Understanding by Design

Powerful Learning: Studies Show Deep Understanding Derives from Collaborative Methods

Cooperative learning and inquiry-based teaching yield big dividends in the classroom. And now we have the research to prove it.

by Brigid Barron
Linda Darling-Hammond
October 8, 2008

Illustration of kids and teacher looking at a T Rex skeleton in a museum.
Credit: Thomas Reis

Today's students will enter a job market that values skills and abilities far different from the traditional workplace talents that so ably served their parents and grandparents. They must be able to crisply collect, synthesize, and analyze information, then conduct targeted research and work with others to employ that newfound knowledge. In essence, students must learn how to learn, while responding to endlessly changing technologies and social, economic, and global conditions.

But what types of teaching and learning will develop these skills? And, just as important, do studies exist that support their use?

A growing body of research demonstrates that students learn more deeply if they have engaged in activities that require applying classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems. Like the old adage states, "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand."

Research shows that such inquiry-based teaching is not so much about seeking the right answer but about developing inquiring minds, and it can yield significant benefits. For example, in the 1995 School Restructuring Study, conducted at the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools by Fred Newmann and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, 2,128 students in twenty-three schools were found to have significantly higher achievement on challenging tasks when they were taught with inquiry-based teaching, showing that involvement leads to understanding. These practices were found to have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.

Similarly, studies also show the widespread benefits of cooperative learning, in which small teams of students use a variety of activities to more deeply understand a subject. Each member is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping his or her teammates learn, so the group become a supportive learning environment.

What follows is a summary of the key research findings for both inquiry-based and cooperative learning. First, let's look at three inquiry-based approaches: project learning (also called project-based learning), problem-based learning, and design-based instruction.

Project-Based Pathways

Project learning involves completing complex tasks that result in a realistic product or presentation to an audience. "A Review of Research on Project-Based Learning," prepared by researcher John Thomas for the Autodesk Foundation, identified five key components of effective project learning:

  • Centrality to the curriculum
  • Driving questions that lead students to encounter central concepts
  • Investigations that involve inquiry and knowledge building
  • Processes that are student driven, rather than teacher driven
  • Authentic problems that people care about in the real world

Research on project learning found that student gains in factual learning are equivalent or superior to those of students in more traditional forms of classroom instruction. The goals of project learning, however, aim to take learning one step further by enabling students to transfer their learning to new kinds of situations, illustrated in three studies:

  1. In a 1998 study by H.G. Shepherd, fourth and fifth graders completed a nine-week project to define and find solutions related to housing shortages in several countries. In comparison to the control group, the project-learning students scored significantly higher on a critical-thinking test and demonstrated increased confidence in their learning.

  2. A more ambitious, longitudinal comparative study by Jo Boaler and colleagues in England in 1997 and 1998 followed students over three years in two schools similar in student achievement and income levels. The traditional school featured teacher-directed whole-class instruction organized around texts, workbooks, and frequent tests in tracked classrooms. Instruction in the other school used open-ended projects in heterogeneous classrooms.

    The study found that although students had comparable learning gains on basic mathematics procedures, significantly more project-learning students passed the National Exam in year three than those in the traditional school. Although students in the traditional school "thought that mathematical success rested on being able to remember and use rules," according to the study, the project-learning students developed more flexible and useful mathematical knowledge.

  3. A third study, in 2000, on the impact of multimedia projects on student learning, showed similar gains. Students in the Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project [4], in California's Silicon Valley, developed a brochure informing school officials about problems homeless students face. The students in the multimedia program earned higher scores than a comparison group on content mastery, sensitivity to audience, and coherent design. They performed equally well on standardized test scores of basic skills.

Other short-term, comparative studies demonstrated benefits from project learning, such as increases in the ability to define problems, reason with clear arguments, and plan projects. Additional research has documented improvements in motivation, attitude toward learning, and work habits. Students who struggle in traditional instructional settings have often excelled when working on a project, which better matches their learning style or preference for collaboration.

Students as Problem Solvers

Problem-based-learning approaches are a close cousin of project learning, in which students use complex problems and cases to actively build their knowledge. Much of the research for this approach comes from medical education. Medical students are given a patient profile, history, and symptoms; groups of students generate a diagnosis, conduct research, and perform diagnostic tests to identify causes of the pain or illness. Meta-analyses of multiple studies have found that medical students in problem-based curricula score higher on clinical problem solving and performance.

Use of problem-based cases in teacher education has helped student teachers apply theory and practical knowledge to school contexts and classroom dilemmas; these cases, for example, have enabled teachers to take alternative perspectives to better appreciate cultural diversity.

Studies of problem-based learning suggest that it is comparable, though not always superior, to more traditional instruction in teaching facts and information. However, this approach has been found to be better in supporting flexible problem solving, reasoning skills, and generating accurate hypotheses and coherent explanations.

Learning Through Design

Design-based instruction is based on the premise that children learn deeply when they create products that require understanding and application of knowledge. Design activity involves stages of revisions as students create, assess, and redesign their products. The work often requires collaboration and specific roles for individual students, enabling them to become experts in a particular area.

Illustration of a girl smiling, holding a book.
Credit: Thomas Reis

Design-based approaches can be found across many disciplines, including science, technology, art, engineering, and architecture. Design competitions for students include the FIRST [5] robotics competitions and Thinkquest [6], for which student teams design and build Web sites on topics including art, astronomy, computer programming, foster care, and mental health.

Thinkquest teams are mentored by a teacher who gives general guidance throughout the design process, leaving the specific creative and technical work to the students. Teams offer and receive feedback during a peer review of the initial submissions and use this information to revise their work. To date, more than 30,000 students have created more than 7,000 Web sites [7] through this competition.

Few studies have used a control group to evaluate the impact of the learning-by-design model, but in a 2000 study by researchers C.E. Hmelo, D.L Holton, and J.L. Kolodner, sixth-grade students designed a set of artificial lungs and built a partially working model of the respiratory system. The learning-by-design students viewed the respiratory system more systemically and understood more about the structures and functions of the system than the control group.

Hmelo and colleagues argued that design challenges need to be carefully planned, and they emphasized the importance of dynamic feedback. They also determined that teachers working on design projects must pay particular attention to finding a balance between students' work on design activities and reflection on what they are learning; that balance allows teachers to guide students' progress, especially in recognizing irrelevant aspects of their research that may take them on unproductive tangents, and in remaining focused on the whole project rather than simply on its completion.

Shifting Ideas, Shifting Roles

A significant challenge to implementing inquiry approaches is the capacity and skill of teachers to undertake this more complex form of teaching. Teachers may think of project learning or problem-based teaching as unstructured and may fail to provide students with proper support and assessment as projects unfold.

When students have no prior experience with inquiry learning, they can have difficulty generating meaningful driving questions and logical arguments and may lack background knowledge to make sense of the inquiry. Students can neglect to use informational resources unless explicitly prompted. They can find it hard to work together, manage their time, and sustain motivation in the face of setbacks or confusion.

One of the principal challenges for teachers, then, is to learn how to juggle a host of new responsibilities -- from carving out the time needed for extended inquiry to developing new classroom-management techniques. They must also be able to illuminate key concepts, balance direct instruction with inquiry teaching, facilitate learning among groups, and develop assessments to guide the learning process. That's a tall order for even the most experienced teacher.

To address these problems, Alice D. Gertzman and Janet L. Kolodner, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, introduced the concept of a design diary in 1996 to support eighth-grade science students in creating a solution for coastal erosion on a specific island off the coast of Georgia. Students had access to stream tables, as well as resources on videotape and the Internet.

In a first study conducted by Gertzman and Kolodner, learning outcomes were disappointing but instructive: The researchers noted that the teacher missed many opportunities to advance learning because she could not listen to all small-group discussions and decided not to have whole-group discussions. They also noted that the students needed more specific prompts for justifying design decisions.

In a second study, the same researchers designed a broader system of tools that greatly improved the learning outcomes. These tools included more structured diary prompts asking for design explanations and the use of whole-class discussions at strategic moments. They also required students to publicly defend their designs earlier in the process. Requiring students to track and defend their thinking focused them on learning and connecting concepts in their design work.

Talented Teams

Inquiry-based learning often involves students working in pairs or groups. Cooperative small-group learning -- that is, students working together in a group small enough that everyone can participate on a collective task -- has been the subject of hundreds of studies. All the research arrives at the same conclusion: There are significant benefits for students who work together on learning activities.

In one comparison by Zhining Qin, David Johnson, and Roger Johnson, of four types of categories for problems presented to individuals and cooperative teams, researchers found that teams outperformed individuals on all types and across all ages. Results varied by how well defined the problems were (a single right answer versus open-ended solutions, such as writing a story) and how much they relied on language. Several experimental studies have shown that groups outperform individuals on learning tasks and that individuals who work in groups do better on later individual assessments.

Cooperative group work benefits students in social and behavioral areas as well, including improvement in student self-concept, social interaction, time on task, and positive feelings toward peers. Researchers say these social and self-concept measures were related to academic outcomes and that low-income students, urban students, and minority students benefited even more from cooperative group work, a finding repeated over several decades.

But effective cooperative learning can be difficult to implement. Researchers identify at least three major challenges: developing group structures to help individuals work together, creating tasks that support useful cooperative work, and introducing discussion strategies that support rich learning.

Productive Collaboration

A great deal of work has been done to specify the kinds of tasks, accountability, and roles that help students collaborate well. In a summary of forty years of research on cooperative learning, Roger and David Johnson, at the University of Minnesota, identified five important elements of cooperation across multiple classroom models:

  • Positive interdependence
  • Individual accountability
  • Structures that promote face-to-face interaction
  • Social skills
  • Group processing

Cooperative-learning approaches range from simply asking students to help one another complete individually assigned problem sets to having students collectively define projects and generate a product that reflects the work of the entire group. Many approaches fall between these two extremes.

Illustration of a girl laughing.
Credit: Thomas Reis

In successful group learning, teachers pay careful attention to the work process and interaction among students. As Johns Hopkins University's Robert Slavin argues, "It is not enough to simply tell students to work together. They must have a reason to take one another's achievement seriously." Slavin developed a model that focuses on external motivators, such as rewards and individual accountability established by the teacher. He found that group tasks with individual accountability produce stronger learning outcomes.

Stanford University's Elizabeth Cohen reviewed research on productive small groups, focusing on internal group interaction around tasks. She and her colleagues developed Complex Instruction [8], one of the best-known approaches, which uses carefully designed activities requiring diverse talents and interdependence among group members. Teachers pay attention to unequal participation, a frequent result of status differences among peers, and are given strategies to bolster the status of infrequent contributors. Roles are assigned to encourage equal participation, such as recorder, reporter, materials manager, resource manager, communication facilitator, and harmonizer.

Studies identified social processes that explain how group work supports individual learning, such as resolving differing perspectives through argument, explaining one's thinking, observing the strategies of others, and listening to explanations.

Good Signs

Evidence shows that inquiry-based, collaborative approaches benefit students in learning important twenty-first-century skills, such as the ability to work in teams, solve complex problems, and apply knowledge from one lesson to others. The research suggests that inquiry-based lessons and meaningful group work can be challenging to implement. They require changes in curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices -- changes that are often new for teachers and students.

Teachers need time and a community to organize sustained project work. Inquiry-based instruction can help teachers deepen their repertoire for connecting with their peers and students in new and meaningful ways. That's powerful teaching and learning -- for students and teachers alike.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Insightful Primer on the Importance of our NSF ITEST Grant role as liaison to Industry, Business and Government

Create the right skill sets through professional co-op

Is the United States producing the right skills sets in preparing innovators and engineers?

“It’s been a topic of interest for some time,” says Kettering University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Harris.

The results of a national survey of employers’ ratings of the abilities of recent grads in 12 specific skill areas indicated that employers are not giving high marks to the skills of graduates either. The survey, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the American Association of College and Universities, asked employers to rate new hires in the skills that represent a growing consensus regarding the abilities necessary to succeed in the 21st Century workforce.

Harris said of the employers surveyed in the AACU survey, 83 percent said that they would like to see evidence of graduates’ ability to apply college to a “real-world setting” through faculty assessments of internship projects and community-based work. The Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology has recognized this challenge and has begun to take steps in addressing this need for change. The new ABET standards, known as EC2000, ask programs to set clear educational objectives, to collaborate with industry, to conduct outcomes assessment and feed data from these assessments back into the program for continuous improvement.

“The challenge we face is further increased as a result of the downsizing of manufacturing operations in some of our largest corporations, coupled with the offshore movement of low­-skilled jobs,” Harris said. “This has created a public misconception that technical fields like engineering, and even the sciences, are no longer good areas for intellectual and career pursuit thus contributing to the very real decline in students seeking engineering degrees. Ironically, the same corporations that are downsizing are also experiencing unprecedented shortages of the workforce skills necessary to carry out their product strategies globally.”

Harris said the challenge requires a different educational paradigm and close collaboration between higher education and business and industry.

“Kettering University offers a learning model that combines two distinct learning environments -- an on-campus academic experience and a cooperative education work experience -- where students gain knowledge and skills relevant to working and living in a complex world," Harris said. "A Kettering education combines cutting-edge theory and practical application. The co-op experience is a transformative process through which students become increasingly acclimated and socialized to the corporate environment as they increase their knowledge-base and theoretical understanding of their discipline.”

Co-op education at Kettering, with more than 600 co-op sponsors, provides the opportunity for employers to take part in that transformative process and create the new hires they seek. “We can do so by increasing the cooperation and coalition building between higher education and industry, working together toward a common goal,” Harris added.

To read more about Kettering’s co-op program, visit


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Summit deals with 20,000 dropouts a year in Michigan

Goal: Ways to keep students in school


LANSING -- As economist Andrew Sum pointed out the wide gap between lifetime earnings for high school dropouts and those who've received a diploma or college degree, he told the audience the numbers should be sobering.

"When you look at these results, you ought to tremble," said Sum, professor of economics and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

But any of the statistics Sum displayed on an overhead projector during a half-hour talk at Monday's Michigan Dropout Prevention Summit in Lansing could have caused a similar reaction. Dropouts, he said, are more likely to live in poverty, earn substantially lower pay and be incarcerated.

And Michigan, he said, is harder hit by the nation's dropout crisis because of the deindustrialization of the state and the disappearance of the kinds of jobs that years ago allowed dropouts to still make good money.

"Michigan used to have among the most well-paid dropouts," Sum said.

The all-day summit was organized by a cadre of organizations to tackle the state's dropout crisis, in which more than 20,000 high school students abandon their education each year.

The summit is a culmination of about six months of work, including 11 hearings held across the state in which parents, educators, students and others discussed the crisis. The summit goal: come up with solutions that work for keeping kids in school.

Early in the day, Gov. Jennifer Granholm urged participants to become "educational revolutionaries."

"For those kids that drop out, that's a 100% failure. There is no question ... we have to be committed to changing the status quo."

She encouraged participants to be willing to "rewrite the rules for those kids," which the current system is not working for.

But Granholm said she doesn't want to see the state's tough new graduation requirements -- which some say could lead to more dropouts -- softened in response.

Participants heard from a panel of students, most of whom had dropped out of school at one point. Among them was Robert Olivarez, 16, of Lansing, who described growing up with a mother who was in and out of jail. He experimented with drugs and alcohol, dropped out of school and found himself going down the wrong path until he talked to a cousin who had enrolled in the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy, a military-type school in Battle Creek that helps kids get caught up while focusing on infusing discipline and structure in their lives.

Before he entered the program, he had a 0.2 grade point average. Now, his GPA is up to 3.7.

"They helped me get my education," Robert said.

The students were asked, in one word, what youth like them need.

Responses ranged from "respect" to "love" to being noticed.

"Support is key," Robert said.

Contact LORI HIGGINS at 248-351-3694 or

Monday, October 20, 2008

Imagined Programming Alternatives 2.0



Introductions (Cheryl Yapo-Morias & Marc Alexander)

Current Program Overview: Terry Sullivan & Terrance Bryant

YAPO CLC Technology Committee

*Yohannes Bolds TakeOne Program & Technology Support

Future Programs (Jim Ross)
*Breif historical backrounder

NSF ITEST Grant Intiative
*The importance of YAPO CLC in CORE Project sustainability

Pontiac Small Schools Initiative

Questions & Answers

Next Meeting: Date, time, etc. (Agenda Items)


Model the Practice: Featured Detroit Partner Friends of Detroit & Tri-County (Club Technology)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Summary View-Point on Creative Cities Summit

Creative Cities Summit 2.0 Recap by Arnold Weinfeld
Director of Public Policy & Federal Affairs for the League


October 13, 2008

This week, the second-ever Creative Cities Summit will be taking place in Detroit at the Renaissance Center. The League has been working with event founder Peter Kageyama and a host of other organizations over the last several months on putting together an event that will feature speakers from around the world with knowledge and experience in creating vibrant communities. I'm looking forward to hearing from people such as Richard Florida, Charles Landry, John Howkins, Doug Farr, Bill Strickand and a host of others. Session content covers a wide array of topics from cities and universities; attracting and retaining talent (this one features League CEO Dan Gilmartin); design; marketing and media; transportation; music and creativity; and sustainability, just to mention a few. It all starts today and runs through Wednesday. I'll be reporting highlights throughout the week. For a full agenda check out


October 14, 2008

As the Creative Cities Summit opened on Monday in Detroit, Karen Gagnon, Cool Cities director and CCS2 (Creative Cities Summit 2) co-producer, asked people to take away one big idea. Yet the first day speakers revealed several concepts that when woven together bring to mind the big idea that cities hold the key to creating the environment necessary for creativity.

As Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, author of The Municipal Mind noted, creativity is impossible without the civil encounter, for the city is the place where one discovers his/her destiny through others. Di Cicco also spoke about how risk taking is essential to creative economies as much as good urban citizenship is a key to knowledge economy. He was followed by John Howkins, one of the first to publish ideas on creativity and innovation in the 2001 work, The Creative Economy, and a consultant who has worked in over 30 countries—most recently in China. He began by noting how China will achieve in 30 years, the kind of urbanization it took Europe nearly 2,000 years. Howkins said the creative economy sees more failures than the service or manufacturing economies and that global competition in the 21st century is minds vs minds and copyright vs copyright, or minds working with other minds. He set forth his principles of 'creative ecology' whereby everyone is considered to be creative; creativity needs freedom and freedom needs markets. Howkins said creativity is not simply art or innovation but imagination, dreams, new concepts, design, culture, style, and meaning.

Freedom is dialogue, collaboration, education, training, learning, and acceptance by family/friends/society. The market is the marketplace of ideas as evidenced through information content and the internet. The creative ecology is one where diverse individuals express themselves in a systematic and adaptive way using ideas to produce new ideas. According to Howkins, the six indicators of the creative ecology are systems, diversity, change, learning, adaptation, and sustainability. The next billion of those looking for work will go to creative cities to join the creative ecology.

Bill Strickland concluded with his inspirational story of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and Bidwell Training Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Strickland's story and his vision are built around the premise that provided the right environment, people will go into the world as assets, not liabilities. To say the least, the first day of the summit was a day for listening and learning. Tuesday we'll hear more thoughts on the creative economy, creative city, and creative design from thinkers such as Richard Florida and Charles Landry, sustainable urbanist Doug Farr, as well as Ben Hecht of Living Cities and Tom Wujec of Autodesk, with breakout session topics covering LEED neighborhood development, transportation, and a discussion on the Midwest as a mega-region. Something tells me that it will be another day of big ideas. Stay tuned to more from the 'D' on these and other goings on at the CCS2!


October 15, 2008

You'll recall that I mentioned yesterday that if Monday's sessions were any indication then those speaking Tuesday would also have some big ideas for us to consider. Well I and those in attendance were not disappointed! The day began with Tom Wujec of Autodesk. Autodesk is the Oscar-winning industry leader in 3D computer animation technology. Tom discussed how teams foster their creativity, that innovation is the capacity to encourage imagination. He was followed by Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities. Living Cities is a national community redevelopment initiative that looks to improve the built environment in under-developed neighborhoods. Ben sees cities as the solution for solving America's problems—leading us into the green economy and building a new urban ecosystem through strong neighborhoods. He noted that venture capitalists are funding 'clean technology' initiatives right behind information technology and bio tech.

We then heard from Doug Farr, a Detroit native and an architect, planner, and author of the book Sustainable Urbanism. Doug spoke about the foundations of sustainable urbanism—smart growth, green buildings, and new urbanism. He said that we need to change our culture and our systems when it comes to thinking about efficiency and sustainability, including fixing codes and reversing regulations. He noted that a part of the 2030 Communities Campaign is to reduce vehicle miles traveled; it is wrong to think we can all buy fuel efficient vehicles and drive more or build larger buildings simply because they’re 'green'.

Richard Florida was the lunch keynote speaker, and although he made the circuit a few times a number of years ago after penning the book The Rise of the Creative Class, it was the first time this writer had seen him speak. He has a new book out now titled Who's Your City? and his speech ran the gamut of topics from the current financial crisis to the role cities must play in providing the means for creativity. Florida opined that we are in the midst of a fundamental economic transformation and that the current worldwide financial crisis is not analogous to 1929, but rather to the late 1800s—the last time the world saw great economic system change. The change taking place now according to Florida is the move to a creative economy where the only real capital left is human capital or creativity. The old models of recovery are bankrupt and the only way out is through our communities. He noted that at the turn of the 20th century only five percent of the US was in creative economy; even in 1980 it was only 15-20 it is 33 percent. Creativity doesn't respect social has nothing to do with race, disabilities; etc. Rather than a “melting pot” he said we are now a “mosaic society” where an individual can keep their culture, their identity, and enjoy the culture and identity of others. Arts, culture, and entertainment are as important today as business, finance, and technology. In order to provide the means for fostering creativity, cities must provide 1) physical and economic security; 2) economic and civic opportunity; 3) leadership to activate the creativity; 4) open mindedness and being welcoming to all; and 5) quality of place including integration with the natural environment. And this just got us through lunch! I'll continue with more tomorrow including thoughts from Charles Landry and a historic roundtable discussion.


October 16, 2008

Day 2- Part 2

When I left off yesterday, Richard Florida had just given his manifesto of the way things are now and the way they should be. And, whether you’re a Richard Florida fan or not he definitely gives one something to think about.

Which takes us to after lunch on Tuesday and Charles Landry. Landry is known for his work on creativity and its uses and how city futures are shaped by paying attention to the culture of a place. He too has written books, his most recent, The Art of City Making focuses on how cities can be more "creative for the world." His comments reflected that belief as he noted that the art of city making in the 21st century is the art of living together. He said that there are many ways to look at a city but that first and foremost is its history and creativity. Having a strong arts and cultural heritage is synonymous with the creative economy. He noted that one of the challenges facing us is what to do with smaller 2nd-6th level cities. What is the emerging advantage when every city is chasing talent and being creative—it is values driven development connecting to a bigger picture. Cities need to learn to keep the best and reinvent the rest through capital assessments.

Landry also dug down into city organization providing a means by which cities must be open through a "creative bureaucracy" or one which is strategically principled but tactically flexible. One that is open to collaboration and partnership with its citizens and greater community.

Following Landry was a roundtable discussion which, for the first time, brought together the three people—Landry, John Howkins and Richard Florida—who for the past decade have spent their time writing and speaking about the creative economy, creative class, and creative city. The discussion was moderated by CEOs for Cities director Carol Coletta and a lively discussion ensued weaving together the thoughts of these thinkers. Some of the comments included Florida saying that the most basic right of any person is to be able to fully explore your talent through self expression and that cities must stop doing dumb things. They need to conserve resources, empower community groups. Reflecting on the current worldwide situation he noted that "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” John Howkins noted that creativity needs freedom and that we need to be investing in people. Landry noted that we have to shift the rule system away from the plantation mentality of the industrial system.

As full as the morning and afternoon session were, there was a after-dinner session with representatives from Google, MSU, U-M and WSU as well as private business and Lansing Mayor and MML Board member Virg Bernero to discuss cities, universities, and talent. Nearly everyone agreed that all need to work better together at retaining talent in Michigan.

Tuesday CCS2 sessions were about as full as they get with concepts and ideas on how we need to move forward to secure a better future. And after hearing speakers for the first two days, one thing is indeed clear... the world economic platform has changed to one in which brains are the new capital, not brawn. Those cities, states, regions, and countries that understand this and put in place systems that will encourage creative activity and growth in their communities will grow themselves.


October 17, 2008

After two days of speakers and presenters giving us more than one "big idea," the last day of the CCS2 was drill down day as many session speakers were from organizations working on the ground implementing those very ideas that help to create vibrant cities. In the opening plenary session, Doug Rothwell (president of Detroit Renaissance) and Kelly Lee (executive vice president of Innovation Philadelphia) spoke to their respective efforts at working to create places that will attract young, talented people. That was followed by breakout sessions involving such topics as music and economic development, planning for the creative city, and race and the creative city. This last topic explored the challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned from urban, creative professionals as they worked through racial barriers to spur social and economic innovation. The luncheon speaker was Diana Lind, editor of the magazine Next American City which seeks to link young, urban organizations around the country in an effort to engage that constituency in a quest for more livable cities. The afternoon sessions included discussions on storytelling or how to relate the authenticity of a place; the future of creative expression for cities; creative industry incubators; and a session on the city's role in attracting and retaining talent, featuring League CEO Dan Gilmartin.

The final keynote speaker of the conference was Majora Carter. A life-long resident of the South Bronx, Majora spoke of her belief that one should not have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one, and acted upon that belief by founding the non-profit environmental justice solutions corporation, Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx). Her first project was obtaining a federal planning grant for the South Bronx Greenway Project which led to the first new South Bronx water front park in over 60 years. She has continued to work on projects to improve her neighborhood, one of the poorest in New York City. Since starting the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training Program in 2003, an urban green-collar job training and placement system, she has since partnered with Van Jones on a national green-collar job agenda. Majora is a inspiration to anyone working to make their corner of the world a better place.

For me, this three-day conference re-affirmed my belief that communities hold the key economic prosperity. It helped to coalesce those ideas and strategies that will help me in my work with communities in Michigan. One thing is clear, public and private sector leaders and citizens must understand that a new economic platform is upon us—one that is based around knowledge and creativity, where human capital is the most important element. Those that do and who work together to put in place systems that will encourage creative activity and growth; these are the places that will grow themselves.

I'm glad to be part of an organization that is working with communities in Michigan to help them move forward. Join us.

AT OUR CORE: A Quantum Jump or Leap of Faith



Monday, October 06, 2008

YAPO Technology Committee Meeting 10-6-2008

Meeting of the Technology Committee

Terrance Bryant
Yohannes Bolds
John Iras
Jim Ross

Overview Discussion regarding YAPO Computer Learning Center

Upgrades currently being installed and identification of old computers needing to be replaced.

*Yohannes will work with Terrance to bring in replacement computers and software

Discussed the WPM Board meeting issue. And the appropriate preparations necessary for robust presentation. It was agreed that a student-centered demonstration would be preferred and Terrance has agreed to speak to Terry and contact the YAPO Junior Board to arrange a meeting to discuss the possibilities to engage them in our presentation and program development efforts.

Additionally, we were able to move the Videoconferencing System from Karen Court #3 to the computer lab.
*We need to schedule a conversation with Cindy at Huntington Management to ask if we can get a broadband connection for the videoconferencing system. (We will carry the associated costs)

We will schedule another meeting to coincide with the YAPO Junior Board.



Sunday, October 05, 2008

Critical Thinking, Judgment, Complex Problem Solving, Creative Thinking, Communicaton and Collaboration

Wed, Sep 10, 2008

Report: Teach 21st Century Skills - or U.S. Will Fail

Business Leaders draws link between education, economy. U.S. schools must teach 21st-century skills for the nation to be globally competitive, it says.

From eSchool News staff and wire service reports

A new report urges U.S. schools to create 21st-century environments in classrooms.

Creating a 21st-century education system that prepares students, workers, and citizens to triumph in the global skills race is the central economic competitiveness issue currently facing the United States, according to a new report from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). The report provides a sobering wake-up call for the nation's civic and education leaders.

The report, called "21st Century Skills, Education, and Competitiveness," argues that for the United States to be globally competitive--and for states to attract growth industries and create jobs--the nation requires a fresh approach to education that recognizes the critical role 21st-century skills play in the workplace.

The report summarizes the challenges and opportunities that, if left unaddressed, would curtail U.S. competitiveness and diminish the nation's standing in the world economy. It urges policy makers and leaders in business, education, and workforce development to use the report as a resource for shaping policies that are attuned to competitive needs.

"We need to recognize that a 21st-century education is the bedrock of competitiveness--the engine, not simply an input, of the economy," the report says.

It notes that the country's economic output has changed dramatically over the past 30 years, and there is no sign this trend will stop.

In 1967, the production of material goods (such as cars and equipment) and the delivery of material services (such as transportation and construction) accounted for nearly 54 percent of the country's economic output. However, by 1997, the development of information products (such as computers) and the delivery of information services (such as financial and broadcast services) accounted for 63 percent of the country's output.

As the world continues to shift from an industrial economy to a service economy driven by information, knowledge, and innovation, cultivating 21st-century skills is vital to economic success, the report states.

While the global economy has been changing, the United States has focused primarily on closing domestic achievement gaps and largely has ignored the growing necessity of graduating students capable of filling emerging job sectors, according to the report.

And while focusing nationally on closing achievement gaps between the lowest and highest performing students has been a legitimate and useful agenda, the report asserts that this goal has skirted the competitive demand for advanced skills.

"Equally important to the domestic achievement gap is the global achievement gap between U.S. students--even top performers--and their international counterparts," said Paige Kuni, worldwide manager of K-12 education for Intel Corp. and P21 chair.

"Quite simply, for the United States to stay economically viable and remain a world leader, the country must make closing all achievement gaps a national priority."

Creating a 21st-century education system that prepares students, workers, and citizens to triumph in the global skills race is the central economic competitiveness issue currently facing the United States, according to a new report from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). The report provides a sobering wake-up call for the nation's civic and education leaders.

Abroad, developed and competing nations have focused on imparting a different set of skills--21st-century skills--to their graduates, because these skills increasingly power the wealth of nations, the report says. Furthermore, businesses now require workers who can handle more responsibility and contribute more to productivity and innovation. In fact, from 1995 to 2005, the United States lost three million manufacturing jobs, but, during that same time, 17 million service-sector jobs were created. It is critical that the United States graduate students capable of filling those jobs and keeping pace with the change in skill demands, the report warns.

"It has become apparent that there isn't a lack of employees who are technically proficient, but a lack of employees who can adequately communicate and collaborate, innovate, and think critically," said Ken Kay, P21 president.

"At this pivotal moment in our nation's history, legislators and policy makers must focus on the outcomes we know produce graduates capable of competing in the 21st century and forging a viable economic future."

The report says every aspect of the U.S. education system--from pre-kindergarten to postsecondary and adult education, including after-school and teacher preparation programs--"must be aligned to prepare citizens with the 21st-century skills they need to compete."

It encourages U.S. schools to do a better job of teaching and measuring advanced, 21st-century skills beyond simply assessing science, reading, and math. In addition, it outlines several actions at the national, state, and local levels that U.S. leaders must undertake to improve economic results and better prepare citizens to participate in the 21st-century economy.

"All Americans, not just an elite few, need 21st-century skills that will increase their marketability, employability, and readiness for citizenship," the report says. These skills include critical thinking and judgment, complex problem solving, creative thinking, and communication and collaboration.

P21 is a national advocacy group focused on infusing 21st-century skills into education. The report is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, and the National Education Association.

Link: "21st Century Skills, Education, and Competitiveness"

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Model the Practice (BLOG)

Dear all:

Following up with our board meeting, Lauretta agrees that the Yapo CLC Board should cordially invite the Walton Park Manor Board to a program held in the Yapo CLC. As we agreed, the purpose of the invitation is to impress upon the WPM Board the importance of the Yapo CLC to the programs and events it currently sponsors, as well as the future programs it will be pivol to in educating children.

With that goal in mind, please respond accordingly by October 3, 2008:
Lauretta, please confirm that the date and time of the WPM Board is Friday, October 17, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.

Phyl, please draft an invitation with the opposite side of the invitation laying out a program for the meeting in the Yapo CLC on October 17, 2008 beginning at 4:30.
Jim, please forward to Phyllis an outline of the highlights of the Yapo CLC, as you and the IT team are leading the discussion
Terri, please forward to Phyllis an outline of the programs currently in place at the Yapo CLC, as well any upcoming programs, as you will also be part of the program
Marc, please plan on making the introductions of the Yapo CLC Board to the WPM Board.

Any questions or conflicts, please let me know PDQ!
Cheryl Yapo Morais
(248) 399-3577 (home)
(586) 946-0991 (cell)

Hello Cheryl,

I will be in attendance for the meeting October 17, 2008 and will have an introduction for the meeting situated. Thank you for arranging the meeting between the two boards and I look forward to seeing you all.

Best Regards,

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

YAPO CLC Board of Drictors Meeting October 1, 2008

Meeting Minutes 10-1-2008

Convene 5:50PM

Adopt Agenda
Motion Jim Ross
Second Mark Alexander

Adopt Minutes 8-6-2008 Meeting
Motion Mark Alexander
Second Cheryl Morais