Seven Stones Community School

Seven Stones Community School

Monday, 4 August 2014

Learning for the Future

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 65% of today’s grade school kids (as many as 80% in Canada) will end up at a job that hasn't been invented yet. It may behoove educators, academic institutions, and policy makers to prepare them for tomorrow’s challenges by harnessing the power of computing, collective intelligence and human ingenuity.

 New York Times article of 65% of elementary students of the future.

The New 3Rs (by Gayle Allen on edSurge)

Today’s graduates must navigate a changing job market and a glut of learning options. As educators, we have the opportunity to help them learn how to adapt and respond to this change.

  • Teachers: Build reflection into the learning process, no matter the subject or activity. As part of the reflection process, require students to set learning goals and to document them in shared spaces, such as Google docs or blogs. Provide opportunities for them to share their goals publicly and to seek support in achieving them.
  • School Leaders: Encourage teacher reflections, as well. Work with teachers to create helpful prompts and to decide on the social networking sites they’d most like to use (e.g., Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.). Build times for reflection into department and faculty meetings. Ask teachers to align reflections with personal and professional learning goals.
  • Teachers: Create opportunities for students to conduct research beyond subject-or grade-specific papers or reports. This could include asking them to research specific aspects of an upcoming field trip, activity, or learning resource. Options could include having them seek out available apps, educational games, online and in-person courses, or experts associated with a particular concept, skill, or topic. Require that they research and read reviews and then rank their top three to five options. They should be prepared to make a case for their top choices.
  • School Leaders: Ask teachers to research professional learning experiences to support their teaching, and include them in decisions on what the school or district will provide. Stay open to all the ways teachers are learning online through others’ blogs, MOOCs, and Twitter chats. Work with teachers to research the abundance of learning options for them and for their students - encourage a mindset of abundance versus scarcity.
  • Teachers: After students have researched and made a case for specific learning options, be they educational games, online experts, activities, or apps, let them choose which to pursue. For example, if it’s an educational game, let them make an informed choice and then begin using the game. Require them to critique their learning experience in relation to learning goals. Encourage mistakes and provide opportunities for students to reflect on the results of their decisions, good and bad. This gives students an opportunity to take risks in a safe environment and, with your guidance, to adjust, as needed.
  • School Leaders: Ensure teachers act on their professional learning choices. Learn with them as they discover options that are better than others. Help them create an online resource list they can share with others in their school, district, or beyond.