“People all over the country are rethinking the experience of high school,” said John Pfluger, design principal with Cuningham Group, the Minneapolis architectural firm behind the school. Their goal is “to make education less lecture-driven and more project and activity-based.
David Truss's insight:
Redesigning learning spaces, collaboration between teachers, and shifting away from traditional content delivery.
"Games are very important for learning and James Paul Gee has empirically proved this in his wonderful book " What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy". Gee argues that games,particularly video games, require the players to learn and think in ways at which they are not adept. He further states that games provide a life enhancing experience for learners and they also revolutionize the routinized ways of learning through fusing learning and play."
Shifting Learning – What Did You Learn At School Today? We hear a lot these days about project based learning, inquiry based learning, etc… What does that mean? What does it look like when schools shift away from “drill and kill” learning towards big ideas, questions, and “no right answer” kind of learning? And what kind of questions can ‘we’ ask to support students in their learning?
...cutting-edge learning environments that allow learners to be self-directed are where it is at. I sense a mountain of resentment when I'm told to learn something, to use ONE technology (e.g. paper-n-pencil, computer, iPad, whatever) but when I'm invited to explore, to make my own connections with a text, with ideas, I'm inclined to blog it, to curate content, to do more with various devices.
...I’m very interested in using gaming strategies in education and I’m also interested in providing students with opportunities to both learn at their own pace, and also to represent how they have met criteria or learning outcomes in ways that students want to, rather than ways dictated by teachers...
“People come from all over the world to the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning. Typically they come to see buildings, spaces and furniture. They leave seeing the possibility for reconstructing their own learning spaces, pedagogy, teams and thinking...
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
The best opportunity for innovation in education occurs when school leaders are willing to take measured risk and make structural changes to the way their learning community works. This requires a team approach and necessitates swinging all group times away from meetings and to recurrent personal professional development. Everyone in the community needs to view themselves as a lifelong learner with a potential to improve.
"What I’m trying to get at is that our school assessment lives primarily in the bottom left part of that graph, and that we rarely if ever get to the “immeasurable” stuff that resides toward the top right. To put it another way, we focus in schools on that which is quantifiable when, I think, our real value as places of learning rests in that messy stuff that isn’t."
Written for higher education, but applies to K12 too!
"Let me posit a duplication theory of education value: if something can be duplicated with limited costs, it can’t serve as a value point for higher education. Content is easily duplicated and has no value. What is valuable, however, is that which can’t be duplicated without additional input costs: personal feedback and assessment, contextualized and personalized navigation through complex topics, encouragement, questioning by a faculty member to promote deeper thinking, and a context and infrastructure of learning. Basically: human input costs make education valuable. We can’t duplicate personal interaction without spending more money. We can scale content, but we can’t scale encouragement. We can improve lecturing through peer teaching, but we can’t scale the timely interventions and nudges by faculty that influence deeper learning."
...When we stopped thinking in terms of physical and digital, what began to emerge were discussions that focused purely on learning, teaching, and space deisgn. Our roadmaps for individualized professional development emerged. http://www.ryanbretag.com/blog/?p=2263
We also started to focus on formal and informal learning, blended learning, and edges. This allowed for a three tiered PD program to emerge.
This has and continues to serve us well but there remains a critical piece missing. The digital piece to the learning commons. For me, it is a critical gap and we’ve not been able to fill it with a social networking tool of any value. Yes, we’ve discussed Facebook but the discussions with students, teachers, parents and administrators always left us with no solid answer.
1. Create an Atmosphere That Inspires Innovation The Expert's Perspective: Robert Farrace: "Guiding the culture of the school is one of the most important things that a principal has to do. Unfortunately, it's also the most difficult. A lot of principals are stuck by the question, 'How do I get from where I am to where I want the school to be?' "How do you go about moving a collective set of values and beliefs that a faculty has built up in a school over years, perhaps even generations? What steps do you need to take to move that toward the kind of culture that allows for innovation?" The Habit in Action: "Our mission statement clearly says that we teach responsible citizenship and lifelong learning," explains Patrick Larkin. "I don't think that you can teach responsible citizenship in the year 2012 if you're ignoring digital citizenship and the use of technology." Yet, as recently as 2007, Larkin's Burlington High School in Burlington, MA, didn't allow students to access web-enabled mobile devices during the school day.
"We now have weekly collaboration time to discuss cross-curricular themes and to co-plan at the Inquiry Hub, (more on this in a future post). However, we are struggling with a mismatch between the online courses that we had to work with, the intentions of our program to be based on student generated inquiry, combined with the challenge of blending the curriculum across designated courses, and the restraints on our development time, while providing students personalized programs. So, you can see how these barriers can work together to slow things down.
It’s always easy to pick out the reasons why things aren’t working as well as they should or could, what I’m not seeing are catalysts to help speed things up. So, I’d like to hear from others:"
"We felt strongly that blended learning is not only a new and modern instructional model, but it’s proven. With an online component, you can use the classroom for project-based learning, enhance and remediate, enrich during the online time, and you don’t have gaps in learning." ..."We went with Blended Schools ( http://blendedschools.net/ ), which provides Common Core-aligned courses that teachers can adapt and make their own. In addition to our internal time for professional development, as part of the package Blended Schools provides support to teachers: on-site training, regular online webinars and other online professional development opportunities." Read more at http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/04/09/innovator-rich-kiker.aspx
Rather the future is going to be more about “scaffolding“. I mean by this, working in partnership with the relevant team or group in the organization to help to provide a framework – ie the infrastructure (platforms, tools etc) as well as the right conditionsfor learning and performance support and improvement to take place.
"And furthermore, rather than trying to design, create, deliver or even “control” what happens there, there is also a need for a focus on “building the new personal and social capabilities” that are are going to be required by the new “connected workers”, in order for them to work and learn effectively in the digitally connected workplace."
David Truss's insight:
I think this is very relevant as we look to create meaningful, connected learning environments that are blended in nature. I'm espeically interested in scaffolding and creating collaborative opportunities for students learning outside of the classroom.
TEACHING FOR DEEPER LEARNING Emerging evidence indicates that cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal competencies can be taught and learned in ways that support transfer. Research in the cognitive domain has also identified features of instruction that are likely to support transfer within a given subject area. For example, transfer is supported when instruction helps learners understand the general principles underlying the specific examples included in their original learning. Teaching that emphasizes not only content knowledge, but also how, when, and why to apply this knowledge is essential to transfer. Instruction should follow these research-based teaching methods:
• Use multiple and varied representations of concepts and tasks, such as diagrams, numerical and mathematical representations, and simulations, along with support to help students interpret them.
• Encourage elaboration, questioning, and explanation – for example, by prompting students who are reading a history text to explain the material aloud to themselves or others as they read.
• Engage learners in challenging tasks, while also supporting them with guidance, feedback, and encouragement to reflect on their own learning processes.
• Teach with examples and cases, such as modeling step-by-step how students can carry out a procedure to solve a problem while explaining the reason for each step.
• Prime student motivation by connecting topics to students’ personal lives and interests, engaging students in problem solving, and drawing attention to the knowledge and skills students are developing and their relevance, rather than grades or scores.
"So what are the barriers that must be overcome for the MOOC concept (in future generations) to become self-sustaining? To me the most obvious barriers are:
• Developing revenue models to make the concept self-sustaining; • Delivering valuable signifiers of completion such as credentials, badges or acceptance into accredited programs; • Providing an experience and perceived value that enables higher course completion rates (most today have less than 10% of registered students actually completing the course); and • Authenticating students in a manner to satisfy accrediting institutions or hiring companies that the student identify is actually known.
Given this short timeline and the nature of investment-backed educational experiments, I think the real focus should be on whether and how MOOCs or successor models build on current scalability and openness while overcoming these four barriers."
All the learning starts from projects and then builds on the knowledge. Developing the skills of the students comes before the learning outcomes. Projects don't occur at the end of the unit to show the teacher what they learned; the units are the projects and the teacher draws out the learning in the context of the project. Students say if it is work worth doing, then they work hard to do their best. Motivation doesn't seem to be a big issue.
Projects are completed to the best of the student's ability, not to the completion date. To draw out the best possible work, the school has created "critique protocols" that provide real feedback from a variety of sources. Students keep going on their projects and "tune" them to reflect deeper and more meaningful connections. At the end of projects students always demonstrate their learning to "real audiences." Throughout the process students document their learning, encouraged to erase or delete nothing.
...I noticed my kids, two boys in Grade 5 and a daughter in Grade 7 on the computer writing, checking homework and communicating with other kids in their classes. My kids are all too young for Facebook, even though in my daughter’s class, she is apparently one of the only kids “not on Facebook” despite the age restrictions. As a parent, I appreciated that they had in the Digital Dashboard something similar to Facebook where they could interact with their peers, where they could access their homework information and resources, where they could be creators of content, not just content consumers… and all using a platform that respected their privacy. (By Cyri Jones, ZEN Strategic Consulting Services Inc.)
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