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A Vision of Education

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 post
Our space has changed.

Blended learning is a term that has been floating around for years, as you can read here at EDWeek Teacher [2016]: 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 post
November Learning tweeted about "making learning public" by Katie Martin:

 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:

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:

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


  1. I really like this idea of thinking deeply on what education will be like in the future. A few yrs ago i taught at a college that followed what i think is most often called Hyflex learning, which lets students choose between F2F and online learning for each class. It was interesting to think about how that affects the idea of teaching. I love the idea of embracing a community approach and not thinking that our role is to 'lecture' to students but rather to think more on self-directed learning, which seems to be how online-classes are going. Having students go an explore a topic and then report back to everyone on what they learned could be a lot more interesting than simply seeing them memorize facts.
    Anyway, this is just ramblings to say that i really liked your post and got me thinking a lot!

    1. Oh wow, you have actually seen what Hyflex is like: how cool, Marc! Everybody is talking about that all of a sudden, and I'm guessing any thoughts/experiences you want to share about that will be of great interest to people. If you search Twitter right now for Hyflex, I bet you will find a ton of convos going on.

    2. I so agree with you Marc on the idea that we are guiding students in their learning--- their self-directed learning as we support them with feedback and resources. I had not heard of Hyflex-- I see it comes from Hybrid + Flexible. I even found a free ebook: Hybrid Course Design ebook by Brian J Beatty [free] I'm in favor of staying home and staying online -- I just can't see risking student or staff help. It's important though, as we go forward, to keep our ideas open to possibilities. Thanks so much for joining and adding to the conversation.

    3. Laura, Yes -- a lot of buzz about this, yet I'd never heard of it. Inside Higher Ed HyFlex article The article says that courses would be fully accessible by either online or in class -- that requires quite a bit of change, it seems, to the in class version in order to make it possible for this duality. No more just lecture or readings, I would think. Yet, this review of small study on HyFlex instruction option.
      suggests otherwise. I truly am hoping for more of a change in the education models of the past though.

  2. I had not thought about #ETmooc in such a long time, Sheri: it's one of those events (what do we call cMOOCs really? event I guess is good) that I was aware of even though I was not participating in it. The defining ones for me were #ConnectedLearning and then one of the #Rhizo events, second Rhizo (can't remember year), not the first one. I know so many people go to conferences to network and make connections, and it can definitely be fun to do that, like going to school can be fun... but there are so many ways to connect and have fun in these online spaces too. Speaking of fun schools, have you read Ira's book? Timeless Learning. It is SO GOOD. He always inspires me. :-)
    And I am glad you figured out the weirdness of embedding tweets in Blogger. It takes a couple steps but it does work. I like embedding tweets when they have videos.

    1. ETmooc brought me to CLmooc and both of those brought me to friendships online that I cherish; we still connect and sometime collaborate. It's a great example of life-long connected learning. I am so thankful for these connections.


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