Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Feb 5 2018

"Why Doctors Should Be Thinking Like Designers," by Tim Nelson, in Architectural Digest

"At this point, the connection between quality of the urban environment and public health is no secret. Neither is the need for design projects that can solve problems in the health care space. So what if there was a way to combine the medical qualifications of a doctor and the keen problem-solving eye of a designer into a single professional?

"That’s exactly the kind of doctor JeffDESIGN, a pioneering design program for medical students, hopes to create. Offered as a 'school within a school' at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Medical College, its curriculum aims to train the next generation of doctors to approach everything from public health efforts to surgical techniques through classes, hands-on design projects, and workshops. Since its launch just under three years ago, students have had the chance to learn from architects, design labs (including the Little Devices Lab at MIT) and other makers all over the Northeast in an effort to foster cross-disciplinary thinking."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

The "school within a school" approach is often a solid strategy for initiating systems change. Whether it's medical school, K-12, or something in between, separate spaces designed to foster collaboration, creation, and connection can kick-start the kind of "cross-disciplinary thinking" demanded by the Innovation Economy (cf. "design-based learning"). While innovators like Jefferson University's Bon Ku and Norma Padrón are, respectively, a physician and an econometricist / population health scientist, they are also "cross-disciplinary thinkers" who know how to design great learning experiences for colleagues and students. New spaces within existing schools can catalyze that kind of learning.


"Higher education is headed for a supply and demand crisis," by Jeff Selingo / @jselingo, in the Washington Post

"The number of high school graduates nationwide is projected to remain relatively flat for the next several years before rising a bit in the middle of next decade. But between 2026 and 2031 — a period of graduating classes that includes both of my daughters — the ranks of high school graduates are expected to drop by 9 percent.

"Beyond the overall numbers shifting, high school graduating classes will become more diverse. Those classes will have fewer white students and more Hispanic students, according to demographers, and a greater range of academic abilities. Family incomes remain stagnant, so student financial need will increase. In other words, the decade ahead will be tumultuous for college enrollment."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

If you're an independent school, over the next 10-15 years the pie will shrink in two ways:

  1. Demographically, there will be fewer students.
  2. That smaller pool of families will also be less able to afford expensive private education. (And the less affordable it is, the more they will look at low- or no-cost alternatives.)

These are long term trends. Thye are not likely to stabilize or reverse in the next 10-15 years. There will be some winners and many losers in the battle over that shrinking pie.

Which leads to a new feature in The Future of Learning Top Reads...


...Question of the week: What is your school succeeding at--and does it truly matter?

Fear Succeeding At Something That Doesn't Matter.png


Thank you for reading this post from Basecamp's blog, Ed:Future. Do you know someone who would find the Ed:Future blog worthwhile reading? Please let them know that they can subscribe here.

Christian Talbot