As some of you may have realized by now, Dean Shareski and I have a new book out. Titled Different Schools for a Different World, it describes 6 key relevancy gaps between today’s schools and what students and society need from them:
- Information Literacy. If schools are to genuinely prepare graduates to compete in a technology-infused information landscape, they must stop acting as they did when learning and teaching primarily occurred in analog formats. Instead, schools must begin to immerse students in the use of digital tools and in the outside contexts that surround those tools, and schools must do this in deeper and more significant ways.
- Workforce and Economy. If schools are to genuinely prepare graduates for a hyperconnected and hypercompetitive global innovation economy, they must stop emphasizing low-level content coverage. Instead, they must focus on interdisciplinary thinking, interpersonal skills, and technological fluency: the skills that allow individuals to offer value and differentiate themselves in digital marketplaces.
- Learning. If schools are to genuinely prepare graduates to be powerful lifelong learners, they must stop blocking mobile devices, digital environments, and online communities out of fear, nostalgia, or concerns about maintaining control. Instead, they must help students learn how to utilize these tools to foster powerful learning and extracurricular connections.
- Student Engagement. If schools are to genuinely engage students in their learning rather than simply force them to comply with academic and attendance directives, they must move away from one-size-fits-all instructional models. Instead, they must find ways to make the learning opportunities students experience more relevant and personally authentic.
- Innovation. If schools are to genuinely prepare innovators rather than “just tell me what to do” workers, they must stop disengaging students by using extrinsic punishments and rewards to govern classrooms. Instead, they must transform their learning spaces into the kinds of engaging environments of discovery, play, and intrinsic motivation that reward innovation.
- Equity. And if schools are to genuinely address equity issues so that no child is truly left behind, they must no longer be content to provide exclusive access to technology and rich, creative technology education to those students who have the most advantages. Instead, schools must find ways to enable robust digital learning for all students.
In the book we also note some strategies to address each of the relevancy gaps and highlight some schools that are doing well on the 4 big shifts of deeper learning, student agency, authentic work, and robust technology infusion.
Our book is a call to action that serves as the framing volume for the Solutions for Creating the Learning Spaces Students Deserve series from Solution Tree. Other awesome books in the series include:
- Embracing a Culture of Joy, Dean Shareski
- Creating a Culture of Feedback, Bill Ferriter & Paul Cancellieri
- Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration, Pernille Ripp
- Making Learning Flow, John Spencer
- Personalizing Learning Through Voice and Choice, Adam Garry, Amos Fodchuk, & Lauren Hobbs
- and, hopefully in early 2018, my and Julie Graber’s very-practical book on redesigning technology-infused lessons for deeper learning and student agency! (we’re working on edits right now)
If you get yourself a copy of our new book, let us know what you think. Thanks. Happy reading!