A week ago I asked for your help identifying model 21st century schools. Although I knew of a few schools or districts that were good models of what the new learning paradigm might look like, I was sure that there were many more schools out there that were doing great things when it came to project- or inquiry-based learning, technology integration, and so on.
Here’s what we have so far:
- 36 schools/districts in the USA, representing only 18 states
- 6 international schools, representing 5 countries
So, as you can see, we have a long way to go toward meeting my goal of at least 2 schools in each state and at least 50 in other countries.
Why don’t we have more? Several reasons, I’m guessing:
- My readers don’t know what the exemplary 21st century schools are in their state/country,
- I wasn’t persuasive enough for my readers to actually go to the Moving Forward wiki and enter the schools that they know about, and/or
- There just aren’t that many exemplary 21st century schools.
While #3 is probably true to a certain extent, I’m guessing (hoping?) that each state has at least 2 schools that can serve as models for others. And I’m positive that some states, like California or Texas, have many more than 2. So I’m asking for your help again. Please go to the United States or International wiki pages and enter schools in your state/country that you know about. Also pass this quest along to others who may have knowledge in this area. We’re in desperate need of models of 21st century schooling. Help me create a shared resource that will be of value to everyone?
I can think of lots of classes, and lots of teachers from the moving forward list, but few sites have a sustained program in all or even most classes, for teaching 21st century skills. Sorry.
Although this model comes from the Free School movement of the 60’s, I think it is just as pertinent, if not more so, today. Democratic education centered *completely* around the learner’s choice – The Sudbury School. – http://www.sudval.org
A friend of mine worked at a Sudbury school in Northern California for a year, and recounted that two of the 13-year-olds were taking programming classes at the community college. The Sudbury model allows for and supports students of all ages to pursue their interests as far as they want to.
I think you are probably wrong. I think if an entire school is a model of whatever we would agree a model 21st century school would look like we would know about them. They would be blogging (I think) schoolwide, and/or producing online content that we would have seen. They would be making connections with other schools globally and at least SOME of the teachers on staff would be blogging about what they are doing and attending conferences and sharing their work … because if they weren’t, would they be a “21st century school?” I mean could a 21st Century School” really fly under the radar if they are really doing the kind of work we usually associate with that kind of school? I could see it happening I guess … maybe we would miss a school or 2 …. but 2 schools in every state? I just have trouble believing that.
Also, what have you done to make sure that the schools that did make the list really are what someone thinks they are? Have you or some team checked out each of these schools on the list?
Don’t get me wrong … I hope you are right and there are somehow schools that are connected globally and doing community projects and working with others and are keeping it a secret somehow … I just have my doubts.
Really good questions, Brian. And yet I know of schools and districts that are doing good, substantial stuff and still are flying fairly low under the radar. For example, the districts in Iowa that are implementing 1:1 are unknown to many others in the state, despite some of their educators blogging and presenting at conferences. We do NOT do a good job in K-12 education of publicizing innovative practice, so I think this is pretty common. Just because they don’t have a substantial presence in the edublogosphere doesn’t mean they’re not doing great things in their organization.
Am I checking out each school on the list? No, absolutely not. I neither couldn’t or have a desire to, plus there’s no agreed-upon definition of “21st century school.” But having a link and some basic info are the first steps to awareness. Folks can check the schools out and then decide for themselves if those schools meet their criteria for “models.” I can’t think of any other way to do this right now. It’s not like there’s some accrediting agency certifying schools as exemplary 21st century models…
I appreciate the pushback!
1:1 initiatives are a great starting point, but I think we too often focus on the hardware/software and not enough of the connection between technology and pedagogy. When I ask my colleagues about “21st century schools” they almost always mention districts/classrooms with the latest and greatest computers…but so many of us know the tool doesn’t define the quality of education. My detailed thoughts are here: http://is.gd/vHqH