Season 2: Episode 18 – Interview with Gary Stager [Podcast]

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 2.21.32 PMIn this episode, we welcome Dr. Gary Stager. Dr. Stager is one of the world’s leading experts and advocates for computer programming, robotics and learning-by-doing in classrooms. In 1990, Dr. Stager led professional development in the world’s first laptop schools and played a major role in the early days of online education. In addition to being a popular keynote speaker at some of the world’s most prestigious education conferences, Gary is a journalist, teacher educator, consultant, professor, software developer, publisher, and school administrator. An elementary teacher by training, he has taught students from preschool through doctoral studies. When not on the road speaking or consulting, Dr. Stager serves as the Special Assistant to the Head of School for Innovation at The Willows Community School in Culver City, California.

When Jean Piaget wanted to better understand how children learn mathematics, he hired Seymour Papert. When Dr. Papert wanted to create a high-tech alternative learning environment for incarcerated at-risk teens, he hired Gary Stager. This work was the basis for Gary’s doctoral dissertation and documented Papert’s most-recent institutional research project. Dr. Stager’s work has earned a Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics Education and a Grammy Award.

Gary is also on the advisory board of the NSF-funded project, BJC4NYC: Bringing a Rigorous Computer Science Principles Course to the Largest School System in the US.

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  1. In a recent blog post, you wrote about LUMT – less us, more them. How does that shift the thinking around the roles and responsibilities of teacher and learner?
  2. What are the challenges of shifting those roles and responsibilities, and how can teachers and learners navigate those challenges?
  3. What can a teacher do to make the classroom truly student-centered?
  4. Dr. Stager is co-author of Invent To Learn – Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Legendary educator Herbert Kohl called Invent to Learn, “a persuasive, powerful, and useful reconceptualization of progressive education for digital times.”  You may remember, we previously podcasted with his co-author, Sylvia Martinez (Season 2, Episode 10).  How do these ideas relate to the book you co-authored with Sylvia Martinez – Invent to Learn?
  5. What can we as leaders do to bring these roles closer to this vision?
  6. Gary is the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute for educators. Talk to us about the design of Constructing Modern Knowledge. How does the Institute raise the bar on teacher professional learning?

Join the Conversation

Each episode we leave you with a couple of questions to think about…with the idea of provoking conversation. This episode’s questions:

  • What are the first steps to leading your school toward the concept of Less Us, More Them?
  • As a teacher, what will you try in your classroom to move toward the concept of Less Us, More Them?

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