Future of Learning Top Reads for week of July 2 2018

Photo by  Andre Hunter  on  Unsplash

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

"One Of Education's Best Examples Of A Learner-Driven Community," by Tom Vander Ark / @tvanderark, in Forbes

"The idea of a more personalized approach to education has gained a lot of traction in the last decade. But there’s a lot of variation among those claiming 'personalization.' Some are teacher-driven and prescriptive. In others, students are active in charting their course."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

My guess is we are going to hear more and more about "personalized" learning. But, like "educational technology," personalized learning is essentially a tactic.

In an almost throw-away line, Vander Ark points out what lies at the heart of "learner-driven" education: agency. Agency is strategy. So ask yourself, how often do learners in your school have the latitude to identify the problems they want to work on?

And that question leads us to...


"U.S. is way behind other nations on workers' readiness for jobs of the future, report says," in the LA Times

"Researchers graded the nations on three main categories: their innovation environment, which included money spent on research and development; school policies, from early curricula to lifelong learning programs; and public workforce development, such as government-led efforts to retrain workers."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

The article goes on to say that "Colleges tend to be less nimble when it comes to keeping up with technological changes, and companies will seek workers who can adapt to cutting-edge developments. [...] 'This is the thing we need people to be good at: How to cope with the unexpected'."

In other words, we need to prepare students to lead in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, chaotic, ambiguous) world. Unlike the world of school, in which most problems come pre-packaged (along with pre-determined solutions), a VUCA world requires us to "cope with the unexpected." If your school isn't preparing students to identify and solve problems they've never seen before, it is leaving them at a disadvantage.

But the antidote lies in...


"Big, bold ideas to change NCEA – do you agree?" by Hon. Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education, New Zealand, on The Beehive

“At stake is the opportunity to change how NCEA is used to prepare our students for life after school in a fast-changing world.

“Employers are telling us that students coming out of school don’t have the right skills, students say more flexibility is needed, and teachers say there’s too much assessment, getting in the way of learning.

“All students have different strengths and abilities. I want every young person to have access to a pathway through NCEA that reflects their strengths, so that all students can fulfil their potential.

“Proposals include putting a greater focus on critical thinking, digital literacy and civic participation and teaching students how to work well alongside others.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

This is a powerful signal from the periphery that tectonic shifts are reshaping education.

New Zealand, which for many years has had a core of progressive schools, now enjoys government support to explore competence and strengths-based approaches to learning. Just like the Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC), and just like New Hampshire's even longer-standing state-based approval of competency learning.

Speaking of the MTC...

Malvern Prep, where I served as Head of School from 2012-17, was one of the first schools to join the MTC in January 2017. A mere 18 months later, MTC has enrolled 200 independent school members and just announced that they will begin to admit public schools too.

These principles are still on the far left hand side of Basecamp’s Education Hype Curve, which means there is still time for schools to begin to explore them with seriousness.


Question of the week:



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