Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Nov 26 2018

“3 Change Management Strategies to Lead Transformation,” by Julie Wilson, on Education Reimagined

“At the core of this work of education transformation is adult transformation. The majority of us were raised in the old industrial system of education, and we find ourselves in the dual role of hospice worker to the old way and midwife to the new (Leicester 2013). It involves a shift away from the mental model of ‘How do I manage change resistance’ to ‘How do I build change resilience?’ This shift is critical. […]

“One of the biggest distinctions between planned change and iterative changing is that the change problem itself is unclear. Iterative changing involves giving the work back to the people, knowing that it is up to the people who will implement the change to wrestle with the problem(s) they are trying to solve. This is a significant shift from the patriarchal or matriarchal model of school where the principal or superintendent will tell you what the problem is and, in many cases, provide the solution.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

This short piece is one of the best things I’ve read on how change happens in schools. In many ways, it boils down to this observation:

“Iterative changing requires facilitative change leadership.”

In an ambiguous and rapidly evolving environment, leaders know that it is futile to “plan,” “direct,” or “control” change.

They facilitate change.


“The Human Brain Is a Time Traveler,” by Steven Johnson, in the New York Times

“Today, it seems, mind-wandering is under attack from all sides. It’s a common complaint that our compulsive use of smartphones is destroying our ability to focus. But seen through the lens of Homo prospectus, ubiquitous computing poses a different kind of threat: Having a network-connected supercomputer in your pocket at all times gives you too much to focus on. It cuts into your mind-wandering time. […] The Homo prospectus theory suggests that, if anything, we need to carve out time in our schedule — and perhaps even in our schools — to let minds drift.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Artificial intelligence can’t ponder the past or dream about the future.

But if we don’t deliberately make space for our minds to wander, we will lose our uniquely human capacity to “time travel,” as Steven Johnson puts it. And in a world increasingly shaped by algorithms, we need to be more human.

When and where in your school do students have time to let their minds wander?

What will happen to them if they don’t learn to know themselves this way?


“Insuring Against a Drop in Chinese Students,” by Ellie Bothwell, in Inside Higher Ed

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has paid $424,000 to insure itself against a significant drop in tuition revenue from Chinese students.

“In what is thought to be a world first, the colleges of business and engineering at the university signed a three-year contract with an insurance broker to pay the annual six-figure sum, which provides coverage of up to $60 million.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

I’m not sure what shocks me more: the fact that Chinese students account for 20% of Illinois’ business school tuition revenue, or the fact that an insurance provider will only pay out if the school first loses $12M from shrinking Chinese student enrollment.

One way or the other, this signal from the edge suggests a significant evolution in the higher ed business model—which directly impacts the K12 independent school business model.


Question of the week:

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Christian Talbot