Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Aug 13 2018

Photo by  Aaron Torres  on  Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Torres on Unsplash

"When Schools Forgo Grades: An Experiment In Internal Motivation," by Katrina Schwartz / @kschwart, in KQED

"In IGSS, students get to choose their ['massive research paper'] topic and the year is largely structured around a deep dive into an area of passion. Engelman chose to research Colony Collapse Disorder, assembling a community of experts from professors to professional beekeepers and USDA officials in a community who shared a passion for honeybees. She knew nothing about honeybees going into the project.

" 'Looking back I don’t know how I had the guts as a 17-year-old to do this, but I just decided I had the authority to email anyone I wanted,' Engelman said. And for the most part, all these experts wrote back to her. She then continued to extend her passion for honeybees by convincing her parents to let her keep bees in the backyard and making a film about the experience for her senior capstone project. She also wrote an elementary school curriculum on Colony Collapse Disorder and the important role honeybees play in ecosystems, which she taught at several nearby schools."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Want to know what it looks like at the ground level when a school abandons grades and still fosters deep, meaningful, college prep learning? Read this full article.

Grades foster compliance and cooperation and affirm a teacher-centered environment. Narrative feedback fosters collaboration and co-creation and affirms a student-centered environment.

Do you want compliant learners, or learners who can collaborate and create? (See Question of the Week below.)

H/T to Mark Silver, Head of School at Hillbrook School (CA), for posting the article on LinkedIn.


"IBM's HR Chief Shares Best Advice On The Future Of Work," by Zack Friedman / @zackafriedman, in Forbes

"[W]ork will be highly collaborative, iterative and performed by teams that can assemble and dis-assemble quickly, responding in real time to external and internal signals. So, work will need to be co-located in agile workplaces."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

In this interview, Diane Gherson, IBM's Chief Human Resources Officer, forecasts the future of work, and the implications for school are clear. We need to prepare learners now for:

  • Collaboration (not just "group work")
  • Rapid assembling and dis-assembling of teams
  • Responding to real-time, unpredictable problems
  • Leveraging agile workspaces

Other lessons include...

  • Lead with culture ("It starts with knowing your purpose and who you want to be. Then it’s about every decision, even the small ones, that you make after that.")
  • Foster empowerment and diversity ("Today, effective teaming starts with pulling together a cross-disciplinary group of self-directed and empowered people guided by more of a servant-leader. So, the secret is empowerment and diversity.")
  • Create ample space for reflection (Gherson likes to ask prospective hires, "When you look back at your career so far, what were the high points and the low points? The capacity for retrospection is so important to continuous learning.")


"New space takes shape on campuses to encourage learning, collaboration," by James Patterson, in EducationDive

"St. Edward’s has developed six spaces that are specially configured for active learning, some with furniture on wheels that allows for easy reconfigurations for small-group collaboration, and others with sophisticated video-conferencing equipment. Professors often change their teaching style when they are asked to use the space, the college has found.

"Institutions of all sizes and types are trying out new space configurations with the intent of improving learning and student success."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

It looks as though flexible classroom design is beginning to emerge from the "trough of disillusionment" to begin its climb up the "slope of enlightenment."


Questions of the week:

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