At TEDxAtlanta: Community on Tuesday, I heard many amazing thinkers and doers. Among them, Rhonda Lowry shared the idea that networked literacy is essential – that we must value relational connections over industrial-age containers (like…bell schedules?!). At virtually all the TED and TEDx events, we hear from amazing folks that are making positive differences in the world. What if we tried 1/2 time with the traditional departmentalized subjects and re:purposed the resulting 1/2 time as “grand challenge curriculum.” We could explore and attack the various challenges of our “real world” and benefit mightily from the problem-solving and transdisciplinary studies.
[My word count today is 95. I embrace that failure! Thanks for reading the extra 50+%. I could write for WEEKS and MONTHS just on this topic!]
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Don’t you/we think that some of the required “stuff” that we feel we must cover (teach) will be learned during the grand challenge experiences? What if we started with the grand challenge and “filled in” the essentials that somehow do not come into play? Should we ask ourselves to reconsider how essential a topic is if we cannot apply it in problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and other learning quests?
ABSOLUTELY, I think that most, if not all, of the required and essential content/understanding/”stuff” will be covered and learned (more deeply in context) during the grand challenge experiences. However, I proposed the “What if” of thinking about 1/2 time because I think a complete leap to fully immersed PBL might be too big of a leap for many traditionally thinking schools. Moreover, I believe there is a strong case to be made for retaining some departmentalized structure for students who have been habituated and conditioned to such frameworks. Also, I can see great value in concentrating some time in particular disciplines to “spotlight” certain concepts and topics that bubble to the surface (or don’t) during the project and challenge work. What do you think?
Could you send me the contact info for this physics teacher? I’d be very interested in talking to him. Here’s the link to my blog.
FYI I had a conversation with one of our physics teachers at lunch last week. He agreed that, with just a little work, they could trim down the required “stuff” that students actually need to know and create all kinds of time for “grand challenges”. It is all about leadership…setting out the challenge, painting the picture of where you want to be, and just doing it!
Grant, that’s great news! And I agree that it takes leadership, teamwork, and trying – learning by doing. Talk to you very soon about our related work.