Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Aug 6 2018

 Photo by  Claus Pescha  on  Unsplash

Photo by Claus Pescha on Unsplash


"Design-Focused University--The Best Thing Since French Fries (Which Are Also Belgian)," by Tom Vander Ark / @tvanderark, in Forbes

"To help secondary teachers incorporate design-focused projects into their curriculum, Bastiaens' team developed a STEAMkit with a game board that plots project duration (short to long) and ownership (teacher to students directed). Cards represent project elements, and phases help create a visual representation of the project for planning and mentoring."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

While a 100%-design based school might appeal only to a few, design-based learning represents an essential evolution in pedagogy.

In direct instruction, the teacher tells students the problems and the answers. In project-based learning, the teacher tells students the problem and the students construct the answers. In design-based learning, the student identifies the essence of the problem and then designs a solution.

How do you create conditions for your learners to use a design-based approach to journey into the unknown?

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"The Threshold Concept Framework Can Lead to Transformative Learning," by Sarah Doenmez / @SarahDoenmez, in Independent School Magazine by NAIS

"Deep learning is not only a matter of acquiring information but of altering identity; facing cognitive challenges that require a student to deconstruct and reconstruct their identity involves a journey through a liminal state."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

I recently spoke with a teacher at one of the country's elite private high schools. She noted that many of her peers struggle to imagine new approaches to curriculum because they believe that first and foremost they must cover a certain amount of content.

But, as Doenmez indicates, deep learning requires students to move beyond acquiring information. To grow into the best possible versions of themselves, they will need to "journey through a liminal state"--repeatedly.

How do you design opportunities for learners to encounter--and, more importantly, to navigate--those liminal states?

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"Double Loop Learning: Download New Skills and Information into Your Brain," by Shane Parrish / @farnamstreet, on Farnam Street blog

"Argyris wrote that many skilled people excel at single loop learning. It's what we learn in academic situations. But if we are accustomed only to success, double loop learning can ignite defensive behavior. Argyris found this to be the reason learning can be so difficult. It's not because we aren't competent, but because we resist learning out of a fear of seeming incompetent. Smart people aren't used to failing, so they struggle to learn from their mistakes and often respond by blaming someone else. As Argyris put it, 'their ability to learn shuts down precisely at the moment they need it the most'."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Early in my time as Head of School at Malvern Prep, I spoke to the faculty about promoting an entrepreneurial mindset among learners because the world would require them to "fail fast."

One teacher became very upset: "Why would you want us to cause kids to fail?"

The anger and anxiety in his question makes sense for those who have excelled at "school” and “single loop learning.”

But what happens when you have to respond to a problem you've never seen before? What happens when your answer turns out to be wrong (or at least inadequate)?

Our graduates will have to identify, define, and solve problems they have never seen before. Excelling at single loop learning is fine for the safe confines of "school," but double loop learning--learning how to learn--is an essential skill in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world.

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Question of the week:

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Christian Talbot