Tag Archives: future

Most Urgent Student Learning Needs

What are our most urgent student learning needs?

This question is at the centre of tables around the province as boards and schools go through their new school and board improvement process (SILC: System Improvement Learning Cycles).  The new process, evolving from the former BIPSA process, is more agile (faster cycles), more targeted, and more responsive to student needs. The focus is on system improvement, which requires change at every level of the organization, but is only effective if it reaches the level of the student “desk”.

I have two wonderings about the new process.

  1. Where in this process is there an opportunity to truly look outside our walls and see what is happening in the world?  Our urgent student learning needs are not just tied to trailing data on past learning priorities. As the world changes at an exponential rate, who is determining what our students will need to thrive in that world?

“Being willing to constantly disrupt our individual and collective mindsets, if we are to come to terms with the needed disruptions that must occur in our own organizations if we are to truly unentrench ourselves from the status quo thinking that often buries us in practices of the past.

Seeing how ‘next’ practices are also in need of ‘next’ metrics if we are to pivot effectively towards this emerging and more desirable future we envision for ourselves and our organizations.”

David Culberhouse, Sept. 12, 2016

2. Urgent student learning needs are personal.  Every child, every adult in the system has personalized needs that cannot be determined by “average” thinking.

Our thinking, connected teachers, when they have a deep understanding of curriculum expectations, can design personalized learning for every child/student.  Creating this environment for our learners requires a foundation of connectivism thinking.  Teachers need to be able to access and participate in a rich network of support, and use this network to support the individual learning needs of every student.

How are we supporting educators to self-direct their learning through their own Professional Learning Networks?

“…it will not only be individuals that will need to become adaptable learners, remaining agile to our exponentially shifting world we now live in…so must our educational organizations if they are to remain significant, dynamic, relevant hubs of learning, innovation and transformation in the face of these seismic shifts and changes.”

David Culberhouse, August 13, 2016

 

We need to ask ourselves, “What evidence do we have to support the hypothesis that the most urgent learning needs of our students can be found in our data?”.

 

Featured image by Darren Kuropatwa CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

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#InnovatorsMindset Blog Hop #2: If I Could Build a School..

 

This post is part of a collaborative blog hop.  We all write on a single topic, then post all of the links at once so that readers can read many different viewpoints at the same time.  Join in here. It’s never too late!

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If I were to build a school from scratch, I would start at the top.

That’s right, at the top.

University.

No longer would marks be the thing that determines what children and young adults get to do with their lives.

As long as university entrance is based on ranking children individually, we cannot create the innovative “EY to 12” learning spaces we need in 2016.

Universities are necessary.  We need professional schools.  But why do we think that the people who do best at writing tests will make the best doctors? Or the best teachers?

It’s insanity to judge based on the marks assigned by high school teachers.

Let’s create program entrance requirements that match the capacities required by the profession.

Other university programs can easily be completed through online community-based study similar to what I am proposing below for secondary schools.  But the ridiculous cost of tuition and housing for a basic degree must change.

And what about colleges? Marks can no longer be the currency of program entrance.

Almost half of all jobs are currently at risk of disappearing because of robot technology.

How are colleges embracing this as an opportunity to become more relevant in today’s world?  Are they agile enough to change from centres of knowledge transfer to places that embrace robotics and technology to allow humans to do greater things?

Once we can dispense with ranking children, we have the freedom to really become innovative with our thinking about schools.

Imagine leveraging the power of bringing people into a building every day.  Dean Shareski first made me think of this when we were on a panel together.

Imagine what can happen when school becomes that building in the community where learning happens for everyone.

My school would welcome the community with open arms to model lifelong learning.  It would be a place with resources – family services, a nurse practitioner, a community garden, library, food services, exercise facilities, device access and support for all.

For senior students who don’t require custodial care, I would model the school on the one in the movie, “Most Likely to Succeed“, where learning comes from collaborative projects, reinforced with more formal learning from the best teachers from around the world.  It would be similar to the Inquiry Hub model that won the CEA Ken Spencer Award for Innovation last year.  It is based on cross-curricular learning and conversation, with access to great learning in online environments to supplement the face-to-face opportunities.

First Nations students in remote fly-in communities would learn digitally alongside their peers because education opportunities, and access to pathways, would no longer be tied to geography.

We would use Howard Gardner‘s work on Five Minds for the Future as a basis for learning classical understanding, while building understanding through experiential learning and inquiry would be the norm.

Curiosity and Creativity would be respected and nurtured.  Music education would be a priority for all.

Our youngest learners would be engaged in the current Ontario Early Years model that respects the rights of young people to learn, to self-regulate, and to be in nurturing, healthy environments.

Outdoor play would be part of everyone’s day.  Sitting is the new smoking, and ADHD is diagnosed at epic rates.  Activity is essential to health.

Makerspaces would be the norm. Children would not be sorted by date of manufacture.  Physical and digital spaces would be seamlessly integrated, and tools would be chosen by what each child needed for personalized learning.

Educators would be properly educated for the important role they play in the lives of children.  They would deeply understand knowledge building, constructivism, brain science and learning theory, and they would be encouraged to continue to learn, both with students and on their own.

Time for professional collaboration would be a priority.

This is not a model that ditches the idea that there are things all children should learn, but one that builds on that idea, because just knowing will not be enough for a meaningful life beyond today.

Above all, school would be a place for hope.  The Finnish definition of equity would prevail.

A public education system “levels the playing field”.  Everyone emerges with the same life opportunities regardless of parents or geography.

 

What do you think?

What do others think?

Check out the blogs here.

Paul Mcguire

Amit Mehotra

Patrick Miller

Stacey Wallwin

Leigh Cassell

Tina Zita

Mark W. Carbone

Jennifer Casa-Todd

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Resources:

High Tech High

Dr. Jackie Gerstein – Learning on the Edge & Visions of Education Futures

Pasi Sahlberg – What Makes Finnish Teachers so Special?

We Have a Dream

“I have a dream.”

Millions were inspired by those words.

Now if Martin Luther King had said, “I have a strategic plan” or “I have a set of performance indicators”, do you think the effect would have been the same?

It is a dream, or a vision – a shared vision, that motivates groups of people to rise above expectations.

Andy Hargreaves pointed this out last spring  (May 1, 2014) at the Ontario Leadership Congress in Toronto (also in his TEDx Talk).

In his recent book, Uplifting Leadership, Hargreaves reflects on seven years of global research to list four characteristics of organizations that have risen to the top with seemingly very few resources.

The number one characteristic is the relentless pursuit of a shared dream or vision.

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Dreamcatcher image shared under a Creative Commons Attribution License by Chie.

 

Mary Jean Gallagher tells us that schools must be places where children can realize their “best possible, most richly-imagined future” (Jan. 17, 2014, Toronto)

As we begin this new school year, I wonder…

Do we share those dreams with our students? Are we relentlessly pursuing them together?

 

Featured image shared under a CC attribution license by katerha