What is your vision for education?
That is a question on everyone's minds these days, and the times require us to think differently. Many of us have been thinking and planning for these times for many years.
Today, Eric Sheninger shared a post that linked to a 2013 quote of his on just these ideas -- what could education look like -- to be true learning experiences for all learners? What educational leadership is needed to guide these changes?
Among many ideas, he says this:
Innovative learning spaces and environments: How will the environment and conditions under which kids learn change to more adequately reflect the reality of the world they live in? Remote learning has brought to the forefront the need to develop pedagogically sound synchronous and asynchronous strategies, especially in virtual environments. The “space” during the COVID19 pandemic hasn’t been a brick and mortar school, but a home. Investments in flexible seating should continue, but a more concerted effort to personalize learning through high-agency practices such as blended learning is needed at scale. Many kids have flourished during remote learning as they have been able to follow a unique path or learn at their own pace. This might be one of the most valuable lessons learned during the pandemic and can be a catalyst to re-envision learning when schools re-open. ~ Eric Sheninger, 5/10/2020 blog postOur space has changed.
Blended learning is a term that has been floating around for years, as you can read here at EDWeek Teacher : Response: Blended Learning Is 'the Next Generation of Education.' We've been thrown into blended learning, and without face-to-face connections.
As I read this, I was reminded of a group of wonderful educators and teachers who participated in a class in 2013 -- a mooc: massive open online course, initiated by Dr. Alec Couros. ETMooc [Educational Technology] was/is a connectivist, participatory, personalized experience where the learning hub inspired participants to choose their own connections, content, and journey, sharing in various places, including blogs, but with no physical space.
During and after that ETmooc [which lives on as #etmooc], Ben Wilkoff started a group of us vlogging as a YouTube channel, Open Spokes. If you click that link, a playlist will open to a particular prompt: What would education look like in five years? Take a listen and be amazed at how innovative and hopeful we were.
This organizer at the top of this post was my vision, which I vlogged about on April 16th, 2013:
I envisioned the school not as a place to go daily, but rather as a community resource hub for all ages, with students planning and revising their own paths, connecting with each other, teachers, and experts digitally as well as, when needed, visiting the resource hub, the school. Younger students would be guided with parent input, while gradually students would be managing their own learning progress and projects.
Our current remote learning is not too far from that vision, or it could be. It's time to think about our education system in ways that move from age-boxed rooms to inspired-choice groups-- learning guided online and at resource hubs through student agency, student interests, and teacher feedback. Local place-based content as well as global connections would expand the curriculum we know and provide project based learning inquiries.
Many schools today are thinking this way with "choice boards." And teachers have quickly adapted to bring the availability of home resources and experiences into those choices because the "usual" work no longer fits the needs of families or students.
Connected learners and collaborative groups provide a variety of options and interests that benefit all students. There's already a wealth of projects and research on connected learning from which we can draw now that it is how students are learning.
I hope we continue to move from the "normal" that did not work for many kids, to a new paradigm, rich from research over the past decade in digital learning, as Eric stated in his blog:
“Improve the work, share the work, celebrate the work, and the process of change will take hold. There is no better opportunity to re-envision and transform education than now." ~ Eric Sheninger, 5/10/2020 blog postNovember Learning tweeted about "making learning public" by Katie Martin:
To Inspire Change, Make Learning Public https://t.co/IE4KScZiz4— November Learning (@NLearning) August 8, 2019
In the post, Katie, in 2017 said:
"Opening our classroom doors and making learning public is a key step in school improvement and is inspiring when it is more about creating a culture of learning and innovation than it is about doing it “right.” ~ Katie Martin, blog post, 2017
Creating a culture of learning --- I love that those "tests" have been cancelled and the focus now is on student learning.... not for the test, but for their lives.
And November Learning is another great resource for building a culture of learning.
And, wouldn't you know it, two of my favorite people, Laura Gibbs and Ira Socal, come up with more ideas based on their experiences with learning, and digital learning:
here's an idea "...drop-in learning labs. Kids come in, maybe at first 2 afternoons a week, talk with teachers and learn thru playing in labs, chem labs and hip hop music labs, video labs, VR labs, art labs, writing labs…labs to encourage collaborative learning and cooperation" https://t.co/MkGRP6GKzl— Laura Gibbs (@OnlineCrsLady) May 14, 2020
How awesome to think about sharing student work from their labs, even with pseudonyms, on classroom blogs. Blogs help bring connection and feedback, and builds relationships through those comments and shared posts and conversations. Blog conversations? Yes, I wrote about this idea in 2014: Blog Conversations, where bloggers [students] carry forward an idea from another blogger into their own posts, adding value to the idea.
And Laura again reminds us of these important ideas of connected learning and careful feedback which she does with blogs:
I've taught online a LONG time and the way I "see" my students is through their blogs and their websites.— Laura Gibbs (@OnlineCrsLady) May 13, 2020
I know that seems strange...but is it any stranger than Twitter?
blogs can be powerful personal spaces.
more about blogging and student-blog-networks: https://t.co/VGlJwAeOjT https://t.co/Wz4lwWpsoD
How about you? What did you think education would like by 2018? And now that we're "learning remotely, digitally," what will we keep and what will we throw away? What could education look like as we move forward?
Terry Heick created this poster, at least in 2014, because that is the date I downloaded it:
However, this January, Terry published this post about a need to think about the future of education, with this visual as the focus:
7 Shifts To Create A Classroom Of The Future
How about it? What's our choice? What will we make happen?
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness... Reflect curiosity and wonder... Live to make the world less difficult for each other. ~ George Eliot