Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The changing landscape for learning in our world

Wednesday June 3 2015

Last week Jenna, Evelyn and I presented a couple of workshops at the small schools (1-300 kids!) conference in Queenstown in support of the main keynote presentations that were centred around 'Future Focused Education' and 'What is powerful learning?'. Below I want to share a few of the key messages from the main speakers and a short paragraph about what we shared! (Some of the photos are taken from the presentation slides so please excuse the slightly off centre look)
Compare the list on the left (which is from an early twentieth century factory model) with the list on the right (which are elements we'll all remember) from our own schooling days. Part of the reason that those core elements are still prevalent today is that our school buildings, and the systems and structure of schooling, are mired with DNA from times gone by. The current education system is not broken. It's wonderfully constructed. It's just that we don't need it anymore. It's outdated. The world we live in today is very different to the world that we grew up in. Below, in the next set of images, are some everyday examples of this.
All four of these automated services used to be someone's job. The workforce that is employed in these four service industries (bank tellers, supermarket checkout operators, librarians, airline customer service officers) has, and will, continue to shrink over time as these types of automated services become more and more prevalent in all aspects of our lives - both personally and professionally.
The magazine 'The Economist' published an article that summarised some research around what different industry in a 21st century workplace are looking for in terms of core skills. Note that while Literacy and Numeracy - individually - are not in the top six they still bring fundamental skills to those top skills. However, the difference is that the emphasis is not just about being good at the three r's but how, as a learner, our children manage their own learning pathway (appropriate to their age and stage) and how they apply reason and connect their thinking with those core skills across a range of formal and informal learning contexts!
The evidence for schooling structure and system redesign supports the shiftfrom the left hand list to the right as our education system attempts to become more future focused.

Our presentation focused on this and how we are making it happen at our place for our learners. A simple way to example what this looks like in our school setting is that rather than being teaching and teacher centred our school curriculum is more learning and learner centred. That means that we:
  • think about how our teachers ensure learning is happening appropriately for each individual
  • we engage learners (both teachers and our children) in 'discovering' and connecting learning
  • we see knowledge as evolving
  • every learner is expected to be an active learner - authentic learning is not 'done' to us
  • every learner develops capabilities to learn for life - not just school
"Providing opportunities for choice, control, and collaboration are potent strategies for increasing academic achievement. Young people are likely to be more motivated and engaged in an activity when they have a voice in how it is conducted and can affect how it concludes" (Nakkula & Tashalis 2012).

We told our story - so far...

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