Modern Learners: A Frame for Decisions

We struggle to make sense of the world. We swim in a sea of notifications, podcasts, new books to read, white papers, comments. My head hurts sometimes, just trying to make sense of what we are learning, and how it can be organized, documented, and shared with others.

I used my learning time this morning to explore the Modern Learners frame for making decisions in schools. Will Richardson shares some foundational questions for our work as educators.

Anyone familiar with Modern Learners won’t be surprised that the first question is, “What do you believe and know about how kids learn powerfully and deeply?”. If you have worked with me, you know our conversation begins with building a shared definition of learning. We will never succeed in building a system of constant improvement if we don’t begin with a common understanding of what learning is.

[I would argue here that we also need a shared understanding of the purpose of school].

What is the gap between what we know and believe about learning, and what is actually happening in our classrooms? Will argues that bridging this gap is the key to sustainable change in education.

Secondly, we must be aware of the larger global shifts that inform our work. What are contexts for learning today? We live in a world where we can use technology to learn anything from anyone, anywhere, so the old model of school, where students had to physically go to a building to learn from teachers, is no longer valid. However, we do need a very well developed ability to distinguish between what is fact and what is false/fake online.

[I would argue here that this is the same for educators. Systems can’t control what teachers learn, and the content delivery model of PD is both outdated and far too expensive to sustain.]

The third part of the frame is “Practices”. What is now possible in classrooms? We can summarize the frame with this simple question:

In your system, does classroom practice align with

a) what we now know about learning, and

b) how the world is changing?

My rough notes made while viewing the video this morning:

Featured image by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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