Ready to Grow?

Creating Learning Experiences By Design

Posted by Grace Lee on Nov 1, 2013 12:47:00 PM

Schools are in the midst of a radical time of change. What are the influencing forces creating this long-overdue movement in education?

Foremost is the internet, which has radically changed the purpose of schools. In the past, teachers and schools "owned" the curriculum, but now the curriculum has been set free! For the first time in the history of mankind, anyone can learn anything, anytime and anywhere. Schools are becoming less about delivering curriculum and much more about creating inspiring learning experiences that encompass all aspects of learning. New learning standards, forms of competition, expectations of what should be happening in schools, and teaching methods and content are all topics in flow right now, which is why it is important to develop a new framework for planning. The way schools conduct strategic planning now is quite different from even five years ago, with greater focus on design and innovation.

Learning Trends - What’s Happening?

  • Mobile devices - Schools are using them as both input and communication tools in the classroom, including for both project based learning and student-teacher communication.
  • Online courses - Students now have the ability to take a wider variety of classes online and some schools are producing encouraging results in learning outcomes and student growth.
  • Flipped classroom - The “flipped” idea comes from the reversal of the traditional learning structure to a model of participating in new content as homework time and utilizing classes for inspiring experiences where students can actually practice and apply for mastery.
  • New Data & Materials - Teachers are beginning to layer or “scaffold” learning experiences using new data sources. Pre- and post-classroom assessments aid in tailoring instruction so that each student is "known" in terms of mastery of the content.

Those interested in school reinvention must understand this key point: School improvement is not the same as teacher accountability. Yes, teacher quality is a critical part of the learning process, but a school is much more complex beyond what is happening in the classroom. Too often the burden of school reform is placed on teachers. We must have a design framework that addresses the full scope of the organization, which is why Learning is one of the four pillars that impact how a school can strategically grow and successfully sustain in today's educonomy.

What are high-return growth opportunities that a school should consider for improved Learning?

Teaching Content

The content available today is maturing beyond traditional textbooks. We’re seeing a redesign of content that is of much higher quality and reflective of a higher degree of learning standards. Your content has implications in the following areas:

  • Values, Rules & Goals - What are the values or beliefs that should be reflected in your classrooms? What rules will provide the direction toward the desired results? What quantitative and qualitative goals can be achieved to fulfull the mission and vision for the program?
  • Purchased, Developed or Mixed - Teachers are becoming more comfortable with utilizing their own combination of purchased and developed materials. With a learning management system, schools are retaining the intellectual property of lesson plans and content, while also providing better data regarding student growth.

Teaching ProcessHappy to Learn

Schools that focus on improving the teaching process sustain higher levels of quality and differentiation, including: Lesson Planning, Student Engagement, Student Assessments, Teacher Coaching & Mentoring Process.

Teaching Systems

Technology is a tool to equip great teachers--not to replace, but to enable. Equip master teachers with sufficient amounts of time, tools and resources to enable them to do what they are naturally gifted to do. This involves solving issues around: Standards & Interoperability, Student Information Systems, Learning Management Systems, and Devices & Total Cost of Ownership.

Communication throughout your school’s grapevine remains a critical strategy for change management. Deliberately plan your communication to Faculty, Parents, Students, Collaborative Schools, and the Community to build understanding and support.

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