Smart Parents use Games & Sims to Provoke Powerful Learning

[What should be the role of parents in today’s world of learning? Tom VanderArk and his team at Getting Smart have published a book that outlines the key elements. In this article Tom highlights some of the key findings and issues through a conversation with fellow leaders on an ISTE Google Hangout. Last year Tom was the keynote speaker at the TRETC Conference in Pittsburgh. He’s a thoughtful educator who is asking the key questions we need to address.]

Kae Novak runs the ISTE Games and Simulations. I joined her and a great panel for a Google Hangout. Here’s a quick recap of our conversation.

What do you do?

At Getting Smart we advocate for and design powerful learning experiences. Every year we name frame big topics in learning and invite experts to help us explore the topics through blog series, videos, and podcasts; we summarize our findings in books. Last year we published Smart Cities that Work for Everyone. In September we published Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning.

What inspired you to write the Smart Parents book?

We’re excited about the great opportunities to learn: thousands of apps, hundreds of sites, dozens of online course providers, and innovative new schools. But we see new challenges for parents; instead of a one time decision with school, it’s daily decisions about screens, apps, and options.

What should students know or be able to do when they graduate?

Penn professor Angela Lee Duckworth said two traits predict success in life: grit and self-control. Stanford Universityprofessor Carol Dweck uncovered the importance of a growth mindset, the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Effort, persistence, self-management are the basis of success but they are not always developed in school.

Two of the most important job skills for young people beyond basic communication skills are marketing and project management—getting work and delivering value. It’s a project-based world. (See longer discussion of what high school graduates should know and be able to do.)

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