Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What did Johnny Appleseed need? Needed in Italy, Turkey, France, Romania, ... Translations of excerpts into their languages

Something prepared the soil...
Johnny Appleseed walked through much of the USA dropping appleseeds (the story is more complicated, according to Wikipedia).  The key analogy is that the seeds ("new schools that use personalization") are falling on hard soil and not sprouting.   Johnny Appleseed would not have had a successful time in Arizona.  Something prepared the soil for him to show up.  (Glaciers deposited good soil for the seeds to land in.)

 Who is preparing the soil?  What is needed to prepare students, teachers, parents and principals to embrace transformation in schools?

Can you find the magic button?
MAIN IDEA:  I want to take "personalizing the classwork" to schools that are stuck in the traditional model (Lectures and Tests).  I find that people are more likely to embrace the ideas if they have been exposed in their native language to certain texts.

This blog post is a description of the International Network of Educators website and the reason why I am posting TED Talks translations.


The button is on the lower right
Why does it take so long to persuade teachers and students (parents and principals, too) to switch to the personalized classroom?  We're asking people (who have the old mindset) to change procedures without giving them the new mindset.
The revolutionary's friend

MAIN IDEA:  We who advocate change in classrooms need excerpts of important chapters of books that helped to build our mindsets.
Click here

I've been thinking about "what prepared me to make the shift from lecturing to projects?"
1.  I've been visiting with parents in Fort Lauderdale 
2.  I've talked with teachers by Skype in France, Brazil, Romania, Italy and India.  
There's a common theme:  They ask "What does personalizing the school work mean?"
They seem to focus on procedures but they "get it" after I tell stories from TED Talks and from key segments of books that have influenced me.

The theme of "personalizing the school work" drives innovation at many schools in the USA.

I used to focus on "How can we share the practices that help personalizing work?" when I talked with parents and teachers.

I found out that it's more than procedures and practices.  It's also about the mindset behind the procedures and practices.

What are the elements of the mindset that makes personalizing work in schools?
Dennis Littky puts it well in his 2004 book The Big Picture:  Education is Everybody's Business.  The end of his book has dozens of books that he suggests for additional reading. 

I visited the Met Center in 2005 but didn't start using portfolios and projects in the classroom until 2009.  I became a better teacher after I had read more of the books that Littky mentioned.

When I talk with teachers in other countries, they ask, "Do you have anything to read in [their native language]?"  They want to persuade their colleagues.  The easiest way is to get translations of the books that helped me make the shift.

The purpose of this post is to introduce you to the International Network of Educators (which is my collection of translations of works that I've found).

It's a non-profit effort.  I take things that I've found in one place of the internet and post it to draw attention to the 

1. I use EXCERPTS (not the full book)
2.  I include a link back to the source (and encourage people

Some people might interpret this activity as "using other people's content to build a website."  Hmmm.  I'm just trying to foment change in the minds of people (teachers and parents) who want to improve their schools, but they are stuck with the model in their heads of "Teacher talks, students take notes, test on Friday."  I have not monetized the site, so it really doesn't benefit me personally.  I'm bringing in one place a bunch of links (back to the sources in English) and aiding people with translations.

A valuable resource is TED TALKS.  
The transcripts are available to the public
I'm just putting the transcript in another format for readers to discover.
a) website
b) on text files on DVD data disks and USB flash drives (for easy transfer to computers)
c) printed on paper

The questions to ask are:  
1) What are the essential parts of a school's website or a book?
2)  What is the minimum that needs to be translated to get 80% of the readers to make the switch and shift their mindsets?

COST:  I ask volunteers to translate the articles and excerpts.  The translation work is not really free:  I'm asking people to give their time.   I don't want to ask for a translation of 200 pages when 40 pages will do most of the shifting.

TIME:  I hope to take this project of "shifting mindsets" to other languages.  A project can be delayed if we're waiting for translations.

The International Network of Educators

To expand the effort, I've asked authors to send me articles that they would like to give permission to translate.  Some authors tell me to deal with publishers, which turns into a discussion of finances.  A typical discussion with a publisher:
- $1000 permission to translate the entire book
- A guarantee of 2000 copies to be published.
- Publisher has the right to use the translation.
- Non-exclusive permission to distribute in the new language.
It's so much easier when the author simply grants permission to use the article or excerpts from the book.

Gordon Dryden's approach in China is an example:  The book sold 10 million copies and he didn't get a penny.  But look at the sensation it caused.

See the link

Visit the International Network of Educators to find some translations... and please send links to articles that you want to see translated ..... 

Special thanks to Nil Goksel, Isa Greppi, and the nice woman who did the Portuguese translations

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