Friday, August 12, 2011

Learning From Each Other

The Pearson Student Leadership Summit is an opportunity for Pearson Prize Fellows, as well as students on the Pearson Student Advisory Board (PSAB), to connect with each other and with other business, community and education leaders.  Take a look at the imagery and comments below to get a deeper view inside the Summit.

The first full day of the summit started with Pearson speakers Teresa Chung, Sandi Kirshner, and Adam Ray, followed by a panel of additional leaders from the company, who all provided attendees with an overview of Pearson, the Pearson Foundation and related school and community initiatives. Next, business leaders led groups of students in discussions about gaming, social learning, personal learning and mobile learning. A common theme emerged in each presentation and subsequent discussion: the speakers were looking to learn from the students as much as the students were eager to hear about their work.

We asked the Fellows what they found interesting, either about the Pearson Student Leadership Summit as a whole or the discussion groups today, and what they could take away from their experience so far. Here are some of their responses.

Bernard Akem
Normandale Community College
“[What] stood out most for me during the summit was to find that almost everyone on the Pearson [panel] started off doing something else and ended up being interested in helping out students in their education. And, seeing that they are very much diverse…and that they are very much interested in helping out students. The National Fellows themselves are interested in helping out in the community, engaging their fellow students in their community or with other volunteer experiences … I really love this, because I [had once] thought – coming from a different country, being diverse myself – that being able to stand up for students wasn’t actually something I could accomplish, and now I cannot believe where it’s taken me. I’m even much more motivated to get many more students on board and make them realize that we cannot succeed on our own, we have to work together.”

Jay-Sheree Allen
CUNY City College
“I thought today was absolutely amazing – we’re just halfway through, so we still have a lot more to go – but what I loved about the morning portion was getting to meet some of the employees of Pearson and hear about what they do in the company. Because I think from the outside, before coming here and finding out more, I just thought, “Pearson: book publishers,” and that was it; but it was so interesting to meet everyone and see the different areas involved in the company – and also how the work that they do ties into other industries in other areas. Also, meeting the other [Pearson Prize Fellows], as well as the Pearson Student Advisory Board, because it was interesting to have conversations with them about the work they’re doing in the community.”

Amber Koonce
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“I would say there are two things that have really intrigued me about what we’ve been doing today. I’ve been really intrigued by the diversity of perspectives that we have in the room, because of the different ages and different types of educational levels that we’re bringing to the table when discussing issues of higher education. And it’s been really interesting to hear people’s opinions coming from private universities, community colleges, and state universities. It’s really great and interesting to hear how their learning experiences have been shaped by Pearson products and by different teaching styles. I’ve also found it very interesting that our opinions really are cared about here. Bill [Hughes, of Pearson Education] has been throwing out the term ‘co-creativity.’ I just think it’s really fascinating to see that our opinions as students, and as consumers of Pearson products, are being used to shape the next generation of what learning will look like. I think it’s really great to think that our experiences will shape future experiences of students.”

Maia Mossé
Stanford University
“One of the things that I took from these discussions that I think I could really apply to the organizations I’m running and the nonprofits I’m involved in is that, beyond just problem-solving and involving industries in forward-thinking [ways], also look at how to make people within your organization feel really happy about what they’re doing and within their specific tasks feel happy about what they do. I hear that over and over again [from Pearson representatives] and you can just see it in people’s faces, how they light up – there’s this genuine enjoyment of what they’re doing. So [I see potential value in] really maximizing that, and not just focusing on the work.”

We also asked the PSAB members to tell us how they see their role working with Pearson to help students, as well as what educational resources Pearson could develop to best support students. Here are some of their responses.

Margaret Glennon
Emmanuel College
“I see my role working with Pearson as a very extreme and important one; I’ll be providing Pearson with a unique opinion, that of their customers, which is very important to them, not only profit-wise and success-wise, but also important to the success of students. It’s a very important position because I’ll be working with Pearson directly … I’ll be giving insight to executives, which is going to be thrilling.”

James Hughes
Rhodes State College
“I don’t think there’s a specific product that should be developed more so than a more focused vision: focusing on at-risk students, those who are failing in certain areas. If we can catch students before they begin failing, using products that can become intuitive and a pre-emptive measure to catch them if they do poorly on a test – and don’t just tell them they did poorly on a test, but help them figure out what they did poorly on and then help them succeed in that specific area – it becomes an all-inclusive success.”

Yin Yin Lu
Columbia University
“I think that the resources that Pearson should be developing to best help students are resources that will engage them in the greatest possible extent with their subject matter. So interactivity is a huge focus. I think that, with digital products and technological innovations, the future of this would be products that engage audio, visual, multimedia, lots of student feedback during the learning process; so, watching videos, and not only watching, but having students make videos – as many possible products that will involve hands-on activity and engagement to the greatest possible extent.”

Mark Noth
Arcadia University
“I think that there is really no limit to the different avenues that Pearson should be exploring in order to help students achieve academically as well as personally in every sense. Specifically, I think areas that could really use some major improvement are in supplemental classroom materials for students in areas that are struggling to hold students’ attention, especially in the way the world is working in the constant white noise that’s going on around us, whether that’s social media or marketing in general ... Education needs to go to the next level to help students achieve. But I also believe that Pearson could make great strides in helping combine social media as well as gaming platforms to help students reach the next level in fields and different courses of study that will benefit them in the long run, to not only engage them in their own learning process, but also help them to discover new things in their respective fields.”

Casey Randazzo
Cornell University
“When I envision my role [at Pearson], I see myself staying focused; it’s one of the things I’m really good at. I’m good at going into a situation, regardless of what it is … and just giving it my all, being really determined and focused to get the work done, so that’s how I will be helping Pearson help students. Because I am an arriving student myself, I’ll be making sure I talk to arriving students from all different parts of the school that I’m going to, from all different clubs, different areas. I think it’s really important not to leave people out. Just listening to people – that’s the only way you’ll find solutions to problems: if you just ask the right questions and actually listen to what students are saying, hear them out, don’t interject…to hear what they’re saying and make a proper change, to have a product that really fits for them and other students like them.”

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