Today, I, and colleagues from CORE Education, were lucky enough to spend a morning with Christian Long (@christianlong) who was over in New Zealand for the Learning@School conference (#lats12). It was an inspirational shot in the arm – it’s good to lift one’s head up over the parapet and get the long view, and horizon-gaze. Day-dream. Imagine.
Opening questions asked us to imagine A snapshot of our childhood when learning was exciting, and to imagine what the future of learning might look like. By the time we had shared stories, patterns were forming, a set of values that might form a bedrock for designing learning:
- High motivation comes from following one’s passion
- Authentic, what’s in-it-for-me? contexts spurred us on, especially those that had positive human impact
- We loved choice, pathways, opportunities
- We want to be empowered – and beyond that, we want to self-determine.
When we articulated what was important, we didn’t talk about architecture, or building design, or technology. We focused on the values. And we felt like a united team by the time we were done.
Christian took us through a journey, exploring the need for children to feel heroic (with reference to Matt Langdon’s Hero Workshop initiative), the need to face learning as design problem that must start with empathy and that has a human impact. We explored school design that allows for creativity, freedom, change, including New Zealand’s Albany Senior High.
And here were my three takeaways
- We can’t rebuild every school building – but we can look to put the values-driven learning first. If we are not making space so learners can access authentic experiences that are relevant to their lives, what are we doing?
- We can see learning as perpetually iterative, in beta, that deserves a personalised, agile response. Allow ourselves to forget the ‘problem’ of resources (no money, no time, old buildings, exams systems) and embrace the ‘design question’.
- That there is no definitive pedagogy. It’s not about ‘either/or’ – sometimes the sage on the stage can inspire us beyond imagining – but about the ‘and’ that suits the learner.