I barely know the powers and functionalities of my smart phone and it’s time to get a new one. I’ll go through the same routine with my provider. He/She will set up my new phone; show me the highlights and off I’ll go. I seldom learn any of the phone’s potential until I have the need to do so. My 13 year old nephew has shown me countless tools and opportunities on my phone about which I would have never thought.
We are truly learning ALL the time. The question is, ‘when AREN’T we learning?’ This truth demands the learning environment (everywhere) be conducive to flexibility, just in time knowledge/information, collaboration, and communications. And also product development – making stuff as demonstrations of mastery and what’s been learned. The four-walled prison style schools are not viable for what’s needed now and in the future.
Yorkville (IL) Community Schools #115 got it right. They had the opportunity to completely transform the high school and did so with complete focus on the learner (https://tinyurl.com/gqz2u9z). Everywhere is a learning space with rolling furniture, access points, computer bars, and fishbowls for collaboration.
The fact is that we’re in a new revolutionary state and prepping next generation employees for what’s ahead (or in front of us now) is crucial. Soft skills (social, emotional, mindset, etc.) will impact employee’s effectiveness and marketability. Analysis, problem-solving, STEAM are on the front burner of needed skills for the future. All of these are best addressed and developed in a learning environment that capitalizes on flexibility, cooperative work, trial and error, and production. Real-life, meaningful tasks ensure this kind of learning occurs.
The article cited above lays out two more examples of how school leaders digitally transformed learning systems, environments and activities to mirror students’ future needs. Most significant is the impact these changes had on student achievement and motivation.
Colorado Springs Schools 11 developed ‘Next Generation Learning’ resources as they continue to evolve their transformation. A lot of good ideas here that began in 2014. This accompanies their vision/mission. It is a good guide for those engaged in the digital shift and learner-centered approach.
It’s good news that many models exist today to help others down the path. It is more important, however, that the models follow research-based implementation processes to ensure success. For more on that topic go to www.projectred.org. You can read our new research Briefs.
Chief Executive Officer