Creating a Vision to Support Next Generation Learning

Schools and Districts too often have a blurry vision of what “technology” means and can do to enhance and support teaching and learning. Technology plans litter the floor of education – well intended roll outs of piece meal plans and wasted educational dollars. In today’s learning environment it is imperative that educational leaders are digitally literate and can help shape a vision of what next generation learning environments look like.

Next Generation Learning Environments (NGLE) are not laptop carts, computer labs, tablets, laptops or online curriculum. NGLE requires an unconstrained vision – and a complete rethink of EVERY step of educational delivery. It is not a budget issue – it is a reinvent and reallocation challenge!

Key considerations to creating NGLE’s are a clear and supporting vision that will lay the foundation for a success. Below are 6 foundational pillars that are critical to shaping future of education.

  • Broadband (to every student home)
  • Curriculum & PD (web enabled curriculum & assessment)
  • Digital Policy & Tools (every student has a take home device)
  • Facilities (schools look more like starbucks & less “bells & cells”)
  • Finance (a plan to support and measure)
  • Infrastructure (shift to cloud & everything has to work all the time)

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Riverview Rethinks Learning!

Riverview 1Five short years ago, Riverview Elementary in the Lakeside School District set out reinvent their school. With declining enrollment, school Principal Olympia Kyriakidis worked with stakeholders to rethink / reinvent the learning environment to best meet the needs of today’s student and tomorrows worker. After touring this school last week, two words came immediately to mind when I observed students: engaged and empowered. One word when I observed teachers and staff: passionate. 5 years after reshaping the vision, the results are remarkable. Some takeaways:

IMAGE_5BDAB277-7887-4114-B0F1-28C0DCEA088BSchool and Student values centric around “Covey’s 7 Habits” and “Leader In Me”

Covey 7 Habits for Students

Leader in Me

Other key takeaways:

  • Riverview is School is tri immersion (English, Mandarin, and Spanish).  See Riverview World Language Program
  • Project based learning overlay on standards based curriculum infused with technology as enabler. Incredible student engagement in all classrooms.
  • Student enrollment has grown from 450 students to 900 in last 5 years – with a waiting list of over 100. 72% of students from outside district.
  • Over 12 highly qualified teacher aides support teachers and students, including the Confucias Institute at SDSU
  • Embedded a charter school in the middle of campus which (Mandarin Language Academy) which seamlessly serves students to and attracted over $1MM of grant funding. One principal of both schools – in fact, you would not even know it is a charter school, as students are dually enrolled. It really just serves as way to offer programs to students.
  • No layoff notices in Lakeside. Fiscally sound management – which is true of several of the 42 districts in San Diego.

Visit: Riverview Elementary

The Future of Learning

From 2Revolutions: “Because America’s future depends on our ability to make smarter, better integrated investments in kids as they travel the birth-to-26 Human Capital Continuum™, 2Revolutions pursues bold innovations with the potential for transformative impact at the key leverage points where today’s current systems fail”.  Watch this great video!

Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems

The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) hosted an event with Thomas Friedman (New York Times columnist and co-author of the new book, That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind In the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back) and Marc Tucker (President and CEO of NCEE and author of Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems) on the need to redesign the U.S. education system to meet the demands of today’s workforce and global economy. The conversation was moderated by NBC Correspondent Luke Russert.

Stop Teaching Kids To Compute Math!

Do we really believe that the math most students do in school is really more than applying procedures to problems students really d not understand for reasons they don’t get?  Is what they are learning even practical anymore.  Conrad  Wolfram says in math education, we’re spending about perhaps 80 percent of the time teaching students to calculate math.  Yet, that’s the one step computers can do better than any human after years of practice. Instead, we ought to be using computers to do the calculating and have the students to spend much more effort on learning how to pose the right questions, apply to real world and verify. Wolfram says important to understand that math does not equal calculating – it is a much broder subject. Watch Conrad’s though provoking Ted Talk!

Over 1 Billion People Competing For Our Jobs

Over 16 million Americans are out of work.  But that is only part of the story – there are over 1 billion people entering the global workforce that are competing for our jobs.  Don’t believe me? See  Post your job, see how fast the world bids on it. I have done this – and in less than one hour I had several bids from around the world. A few hours later I clicked the “I Agree” button to hire a small firm in India to do some web based design work. I also had two new friends from India, Pushpak and Dharma. The work product was excellent, timely (close to half the project was complete when I awoke the next day) and much less expensive than it would have cost in the US.  The flat, connected world will require us all to develop new kinds of skills to to compete in the “global talent cloud”.  I hope the next generation is ready….average is over.

Why Do I Have To Memorize This? You Don’t!

Ian Jukes is the founder InfoSavvy Group. He has been a teacher at all grade levels, a school, district and provincial administrator, a university instructor and is a passionate educational evangelist. He asks why do students have to memorize location of states when they can Google the answer? If a student asks “Why do I need to learn this?” and we can’t answer the question, it’s probably not relevant. Watch the short clip below and make sure to see Literacy is Not Enough and The 21st Century Fluency Project.