Are you using traditional metrics like scoring on standardized test scores and your ranking of those scores, number of students pursuing college admission, graduation rates, AP scores, after school activities, class size numbers, sports teams and athletic facilities to determine if you are a high-performing school?
All education professionals have heard the train whistle announcing, “Education needs to change.”
However, the novelty of that train call has left the station, and not many schools have made substantive changes to the current way they do business.
The current system of education was never designed to deliver equitable outcomes to all learners, nor was it designed to meet the challenges that our students will face in a world that is very different from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Our current model of school with students constrained by the industrial model of time in the classroom, learning spread into 7-9 separate school subjects, students graded and advanced according to meaningless grade averages, and knowledge delivered by educators through rapid-fire lessons, cannot possible withstand the disconnect between what we have today in most schools and what our students and society need to embrace the future.
In tomorrow’s knowledge economy, students will need to be self-starters who are persistent and have the tolerance for measured risk-taking. They will need to think for themselves and posses specialized or technical knowledge to thrive and solve problems.
The goal of getting an education isn’t to solve some of yesterday’s problems, but to tackle problems in the future that we don’t know about today, using technology that hasn’t been invented yet. The current educational system needs to change to prepare our students for an unknowable future.
What our current classrooms and schools need is not a remodel, evolution, or reform; but instead a radical revolution in both what is taught and how it is taught.
What roles do the concepts of innovation, problem-based learning, and design thinking currently take in your classroom or school?
When you look at cutting-edge classrooms around the United States in 2018, you often hear the words “innovation,” “problem-based learning,” or “design thinking.” Are these concepts fads, trends, or something important?
These concepts cultivate an important mindset and priority skills for our students in this quarter of the 21st century.
We need to move from "compliance," past "engagement," to "empowerment." This mindset shift needs to happen at all levels: in our classrooms, in teacher's professional learning, in our building and school leadership and administration.
We need to cultivate a culture of innovation in our schools if we are going to serve everyone in our schools equitably.
How "innovative" are your classrooms, your buildings, your professional learning, and your school's leadership?
The transformation in classrooms, schools, and districts who are engaged in these activities is this: they are changing the focus for their teachers and students from what we teach to what we learn.
Executive director, Bo Adams, of the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation in the greater Atlantic Area explains that forward-leaning schools utilizing a design thinking mindset are shifting from teaching organizations to learning organizations. Great learning is more than a mere transaction of knowledge. While knowledge is important, it also centers on the relationship between the learner and the teacher, the learner and co-learners, the learner and himself / herself, and the experience of learning.
The ability to engage and to motivate children in schools correlates with the engagement and motivation of the adults in those same schools. Observe a school culture where the adults are actively disengaged and unmotivated and you will likely observe disengaged and unmotivated students.
If our goal is to unleash the potential of all students, we need to focus on unleashing the potential of all adults in the system, in equal measure.
Design thinking applies not only in teacher’s classrooms, but school and district leaders also have the opportunity to lead their schools in such a way that increases the engagement and motivation of your faculty and staff. Authors Alyssa Gallagher and Kami Thordarson recently published a book, Design Thinking for School Leaders, offering practical ways to reframe the role of school of school leaders using design thinking, one step at a time.
We can no longer prepare our students for our past. We must prepare our students for their future, and their future looks vastly different than ours did as students.
Come learn with us about the concepts and practical implementation of innovation, design thinking, and project-based learning in your classrooms and schools!
Learning Forward PA (LFPA) is honored to announce that A.J. Juliani has agreed to be our presenter for our annual fall conference on November 1, 2018 on the topic of Intentional Innovation. It will be held at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim, PA, 17545. Cost is $180.00 per person with an early bird special of $150.00 per person prior to July 15, 2018.
A.J. Juliani is a leading educator in the area of innovation, design thinking, inquiry-based learning, and project-based education. He is currently the Director of Technology and Innovation for Centennial School District. He is the author of books centered around student-agency, choice, innovative learning, and engagement, and his book titles include: “Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning,” LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every “Student, Inquiry & Innovation in the Classroom,” and “Learning By Choice.” He just published a brand-new book called, “The PBL Playbook: a step-by-step guide to actually doing project-based learning.”
We look forward to having you join us on November 1st! Please click here to register.