Thursday, November 15, 2007

Systems Change Conference Keynote: Neil Howe

Neil Howe, author on Generations and Millennials, provided a great keynote to kick off the Systems Change Conference in Chamberlain today. He spent some time talking the shifting changes of recent generations, but ended with some specifics for educators on dealing with millennials and GenX parents:
  • Millennials believe people their age can make positive impact on community. Leverage individual goodwill among parents and families--get "helicopter moms" on your side. Channel their energy, not straight-arm them (compared to Boomers, GenXer parents are more personally attached, protective, and directive of their children--more demanding as school consumers, seeking data and return-on-investment).
  • Develop more structured communities that help prevent students from falling through the cracks
  • This group of students want to team. They use the internet to "collectivize." Mobilize students as groups and teach team skills. Create strong service links to community. Focus on school engagement and connectedness; encourage students to lead and organize.
  • Replace realism with optimism--have students make personal progress plans. Integrate college-ready curriculum with school to work applied learning. Use contextual and project-based environments.
  • Emphasize a core or essential learning curriculum that every student is expected to master. Make
    sure that every task is achievable with directed effort--retool learning plans for continuous monitoring, assessment, and redirection.
  • Structure all learning around mastery goals by designing the curriculum to emphasize alignment everywhere. Closely articulate secondary work with post secondary.
  • Keep every student challenged and directed; emphasize achievement over effort or aptitude. Also, encourage teachers themselves to set an example of professional achievement and lifelong learning.
  • Integrate cutting edge networked technology--build ICT skills into the curriculum.

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