GOOD

GOOD Video: How Do We Make Learning Relevant to Students?

Future Learning, a micro documentary from GOOD, taps the expertise of education innovators from around the globe.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC_T9ePzANg

This post is in partnership with University of Phoenix


"I wanted to avoid the usual doom and gloom—the usual 'it's all crap and there's no hope for the future,'" says Eli A. Kaufman, GOOD's director of video production and the creator of our latest education micro documentary, "Future Learning". Instead of making a film about everything that's wrong with America's schools, Kaufman and his team set out to answer a key question: "How do we make learning more relevant to the lives of our students?"

However, Future Learning isn't about "educators in the classroom or about the out-of-the-box teachers who are pushing the envelope," says Kaufman. Instead, "it's about people who are out of the box of education completely who are trying to improve the system." The half-dozen education technologists Future Learning features are sparking conversation across the globe—innovators like Khan Academy founder Sal Khan, Sugata Mitra, an education scientist and professor at Newcastle University in the U.K., and Catherine Lucey, the vice dean for education at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, who has come up with a pedagogical approach that employs technology that serves new models of learning—and not just for the sake of having the newest gadget in the lab.

Creating the film was personal for Kaufman—he's a new dad whose son will one day attend public school in Los Angeles, and, like many of us, he believes in lifelong learning. But, education's also in his blood—Kaufman's the son of two teachers, and before he became a filmmaker, he spent three years teaching eighth grade English "to Bridge and Tunnel kids" in New Jersey and a year teaching at a private experimental school in Los Angeles. The film stems from a series of minute-long webisodes that Kaufman’s team created for GOOD's education page partner, University of Phoenix. Because of his teaching experience, Kaufman realized that the footage being left on the cutting room floor could add value to the current education conversation.

Kaufman says the education innovators he filmed have a fresh perspective since they're "not right on top of the issues." However, their ideas aren't without controversy. At one point Mitra,—who is well known for his "Hole in the Wall" experiment where he put unattended computers in villages in India to see what kids would do with them—suggests that maybe we don't need teachers anymore. While that certainly pushes buttons, Kaufman says he had to step back and realize that what Mitra means is that the role of teachers has to change from that of lecturer to facilitator, mentor, and coach.

Kaufman says he can see how the innovators' lack of actual classroom experience might make some teachers reluctant to listen to their ideas. "They’ve never had to put together a lesson plan or a scope and sequence that would help a kid," Kaufman says. That doesn’t make their ideas less legitimate to Kaufman, but making the film made him realize that there are real limitations to tech-based solutions. A computer can't teach "those life skills that only a master teacher can teach"—and which require people to be in the same room—"how to become a citizen, how to problem solve, and learning how to be a collaborator," Kaufman says.

Above all, Kaufman's optimistic that the ideas shared will spark conversation about how we design a learning experience that matters to our students. "There are people who are really investing the time to make learning better," says Kaufman. "I hope other teachers feel that there's hope, too."

Articles

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet
Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet