MindShift & Their Implications of Educational Topics



       In my quest to increase awareness and accessibility to quality resources for educators, I stumbled upon another blog entitled “Mindshift”. This is a blog geared towards the current issues and innovations in Education. There are many authors, but all articles get filtered through one editor, Tina Barseghian. The blog is sponsored by NPR (National Public Radio) and KQED (Public Media for Northern California). This blog is incredibly intriguing and fascinating to anyone heavily involved or remotely interested in Education. I guarantee within a few articles you will be hooked. In their “About Me” section, they describe their purpose as “Exploring the future of learning in all its dimensions, covering cultural and technology trends, innovations in education, groundbreaking research, education policy, and more”. Based on this disclosed mission they imply that the world of education is currently shifting dramatically and is somewhat unstable. Therefore, what it looks like now will certainly be vastly different in ten years and Mindshift offers well-supported articles expanding awareness of how education is currently changing. As an educator this blog offers insightful information. The content is of the highest quality and very informative.

I highly recommend a prescription to MindShift to anyone involved with education whether that be teachers, administrators, or even parents of students. They entice quality contemplation in regards to solutions for serious issues in education such as poverty, special education, integration of technology, assessment debates, curriculum, etc. Their ideas are presented in creative and engaging ways which promote their audience really considering the sometimes controversial topics at hand. They offer alternative perspectives on the swiftly changing and evolving education system in the United States. They also offer incredibly positive and innovative ideas on integrating technology in the classroom, which has become a recent focus of our education system. They are very efficient at encouraging consideration and giving some feasible solutions to some of the most debated questions in educational philosophy, “What should be taught in the classroom?” and “How should it be taught?” Their marketing slogan alone portrays this, “How will we learn?”

The blogs articles are divided into four separate categories: Games and Learning, Big Ideas, Teaching Strategies, as well as Children and Media. The main idea behind this blog is the implication that current classrooms desperately need renovation in curriculum in order to boost student learning. An example of this is their article for today entitled “For Students, the Importance of Doing Work That Matters”.

Miss a few months of articles and don’t want to play catch up? That’s okay, this Blog offers monthly videos which summarize their articles for you in less than five minutes. In the following video, you can see a great example of how their implications of “innovation and change needed” are saturated throughout all of their articles.

How do they imply innovation within each category? Let’s take a look.

Games and Learning:

Here is an article from January 3rd, 2014 entitled “How Can Developers Make Meaningful Learning Games for Classrooms?” The authors stance is that “Not every student will love every educational game, but that’s not the point — the point is to help different types of learners access the information”. Here you can see how this entry contributes to the overall message from the blog in regards to the desperate need for change and innovation.


Big Ideas:

Here is an article from March 31, 2014 entitled “How are Students’ Roles Changing in the New Economy of Information?” In this article the author uses the “accessibility to information” as a reference to the blogs’ message of much needed innovation and change.

“The skills necessary to be a student in today’s information-rich environment are radically different. In an economy of abundant information, connected students neither need to sit still to access information nor slow themselves to the pace of the teacher or their classmates. They are often free to explore and discover — often at their own pace and on topics of their own choosing.” They go on to state “Today, we don’t see classes that buzz with arguing and problem solving as disruptive — we see them as active and engaged.”


Teaching Strategies:

This category seems to be the most active category for posting on this blog. With new articles being posted quite frequently. You can see why the blog is useful in catching a ride on the waves of educational innovation with blog titles such as “What type of E-books are Best for Young Readers?”, “Facing Race Issues In the Classroom: How to Connect With Students”, and “7 Big Hurdles in Education and Ideas For Solving Them”. One of the most radical examples of this is in their article from April 24, 2014 entitled “No Courses, No Classrooms, No Grades-Just Learning”. This phenomenal article shows how the ability for children to learn and grow outside of standard typical classroom in ways that are more productive to our society and emphasizes the theme of MindShift well in regards to the innovation of our country’s outdated way of learning in general.  This article discusses the NuVu Studio, a project-based learning program in Cambridge, Mass. that pairs students with real-world projects. In this article a group of teenage students from Boston who took off from school to attend NuVu were given just a few weeks to develop an affordable prosthetic hand for children. “On their first day at NuVu, students were split into groups of 10, assigned a mentor (typically a doctoral student) and a theme, like ‘the future of global warming’ or ‘balloon mapping.’ In the most recent health-themed studio, one of these teams mocked up the prosthetic hand, after conducting interviews with patients, the families of amputees, physicians, and engineers in the Boston area. The students ultimately hacked MakerBot’s original files to make their design on a 3D printer.” The article summarizes the innovation of this project-based learning studio by stating that instead of courses, they have “studios”. Each studio has around 12 kids that work with two coaches on solving open-ended problems which can range anywhere from small to big. They also do not have subjects but instead fuse everything together by having the students move between a studio that requires them to design a telepresence robot to another that requires them to re-imagine Boston with a cable car system. There aren’t any classrooms because instead they have open space that changes all the time to adapt to the needs of every studio. They also have no one-hour schedules to inhibit short-focus learning but instead that have two weeks from 9am-3pm solving one problem. How do they effectively evaluate the learning of these students in such a manner? They do not assess them with grades, but rather employ the students to make portfolios that document students’ design decisions and show their final project.What possibilities for education could be accomplished with this type of learning in our country?


Children and Media:

This category mainly deals with the implications of the educational world needing change and innovation due to the massive overthrow of social media. How can we use the two categories to form a symbiotic relationship rather than butting heads? With topics such as “Texts, Snapchats, Instagram: Translating Teens’ Online Behavior”, “A Look Into Teenagers’ Complicated Online Lives”, and “Teaching Respect and Responsibility- Even to Digital Natives”.


Overall, this Blog is quite the resource!