Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Apr 16 2018

"Building Skills Outside the Classroom with New Ways of Learning," by John Hanc / @jhanc, in the New York Times

"The practicality and applicability of education are still the goal, as innovative school programs and their partners seek to reimagine the educational system in the 21st century. Or as another sign at the Mayfield Innovation Center reads (this one just outside the drafting and design lab, and attributed to Thomas Edison): ‘There is a way to do it better. Find it.’ ”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

It matters because our students will need to navigate and lead in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). By contrast, traditional learning methods--and especially their assessments--prepare learners for a world that no longer exists.


"How to Provide Great Feedback When You’re Not in Charge," by Shane Parrish / @farnamstreet, on Farnam Street

"Are we trying to show appreciation, offer advice, or offer an evaluation? (As in a grade or a performance review.) We think we can do it all at the same time, but that tends to be counter-productive. Take for example a professor handing out grades:

"A college professor spends a large part of her weekend writing exhaustive comments on a student’s paper. When it is handed back, the student flips to the last page to see the grade. If he gets an A, he is overjoyed. If he gets a C he mopes the rest of the day, muttering that the grade was unfair. In either case, he spends little time trying to learn from all the suggestions the professor had made. The emotional impact of being graded tends to drown out the advice on improving performance.

"The emotions involved in receiving your evaluation — good or bad — trump the value of the coaching. The two objectives are at cross-purposes. And thus we must learn to use them more strategically."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Parrish identifies three different kinds of feedback (appreciation, advice, and evaluation) and shows the power of using them separately, in contrast to the ways that teachers commonly blend them.

There is a science to providing effective feedback. What could be more important for the future of learning?


"Mount Ida College to close; UMass to acquire Newton campus," by Laura Krantz / @laurakrantz, in the Boston Globe

"UMass Amherst students could live on the Mount Ida campus while completing yearlong internships in the Boston area, according to UMass officials. The facility would also enable academic collaborations with companies or other universities in Greater Boston. It could also be used for UMass online programs, they said."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

While this appears to be about higher ed, it is also true that indepedent schools--especially ones with strong boarding and study abroad options--can learn from the opportunity here: satellite locations can be a source of differentiating value. Day schools can also benefit from these insights by leveraging flexible space options--consider Hillbrook School's experiment with WeWork.


Question of the week: What if curriculum were 100% organized around the idea of forming learners who will lead in a VUCA world?

VUCA curriculum.png


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Christian Talbot