PROCESS POST: Organizing and Annotating – #MustRead from Tony Wagner: “Graduating All Students Innovation-Ready” #EdWeek

[Disclaimer: No one but I may want to read this post. Essentially, I am using this space to organize some past posts that I have written – to organize them in relation to Tony Wagner’s recent article about graduating innovation-ready students. The following is like a form of sticky-noting on my blog. But, as I have come to believe, why do this only for myself in a physical notebook…when I could share and possibly help another educational thinker/doer.]

Earlier today, I read a very powerful article about education and innovation – Graduating All Students Innovation-Ready, By Tony Wagner, September 12, 2012 Education Week. The article resonated with me in a way that only a few articles do. Even though I read voraciously, and even though I mark several articles a week “#MustRead,” I only occasionally discover and read one of those top 0.001% pieces of wonder.

In part, I think Wagner’s piece resonated so profoundly with me because I am doing some ongoing work that is providing mental velcro for such a piece of thinking-stimulant. Wagner’s four main implementation recommendations rung in my ears and everywhere else. I myself believe in:

  1. digital portfolio and authentic assessment over traditional, siloed marking and grading;
  2. teacher assessment based on professional learning and growth and evidence of student learning beyond mere “test scores.” Also, I believe admin should do what we expect of teachers and students! [related – Folio]
  3. schools collaborating together, and with business and non-profits, to create R&D for education…and to impact the world more positively now;
  4. learning built on play, passion, and purpose…learning infused with choice and global relevance…learning contextualized with real life. [related – #PBL, #FSBL]

This blog is one of my own R&D spaces…one of my own digital portfolios…one of my own passion and purpose-based play spaces. I have been writing for months on the four topics above. In particular, I engaged in a 60-day experiment about how we might transform school and education (CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60). Tony Wagner’s piece made me recall much of that thinking.

Tony Wagner’s article also further contextualized the exact reason that I left Westminster to join Unboundary as Director of Educational Innovation.

So I am organizing, and I am making some annotations…

Our students want to become innovators. Our economy needs them to become innovators. The question is: As educators, do we have the courage to disrupt conventional wisdom and pursue the innovations that matter most?

1. Digital Portfolios and Better Assessment:

“First, I believe the U.S. Department of Education and state education departments need to develop ways to assess essential skills with digital portfolios that follow students through school, and encourage the use of better tests like the College and Work Readiness Assessment.” [emphasis from my highlighting in Diigo]
2. Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Learning:
“Second, we need to learn how to assess teachers’ effectiveness by analysis of their students’ work, rather than on the basis of a test score. Teachers and administrators should also build digital portfolios, which their principals and superintendents should assess periodically.” [emphasis from my highlighting in Diigo]
3. Research and Development Labs:
“Third, to push educational innovation, districts need to partner with one another, businesses, and nonprofits to establish true R&D labs—schools of choice that are developing 21st-century approaches to learning.” [emphasis from my highlighting in Diigo]

4. Play, Passion, and Purpose:

“Finally, we need to incorporate a better understanding of how students are motivated to do their best work into our course and school designs. Google has a 20 percent rule, whereby all employees have the equivalent of one day a week to work on any project they choose. These projects have produced many of Google’s most important innovations. I would like to see this same rule applied to every classroom in America, as a way to create time for students to pursue their own interests and continue to develop their sense of play, passion, and purpose.” [emphasis from my highlighting in Diigo]

3 thoughts on “PROCESS POST: Organizing and Annotating – #MustRead from Tony Wagner: “Graduating All Students Innovation-Ready” #EdWeek

  1. Pingback: Networks, Peer Progressives, School 3.0, and Future Perfect #IDreamASchool #School3pt0 | it's about learning

  2. Mandating that schools teach innovation as if it were just another course or funding more charter schools won’t solve the problem. The solution requires a new way of evaluating student performance and investing in education. Students should have digital portfolios that demonstrate progressive mastery of the skills needed to innovate. Teachers need professional development to learn how to create hands-on, project-based, interdisciplinary courses. Larger school districts and states should establish new charter-like laboratory schools of choice that pioneer these new approaches.

    • I agree. I did not realize I had implied mandating innovation or funding more charter schools. I am all for the imbedding of innovative practices, not silo-ing in a “new course.” I am all for digital portfolios. I am all for the professional learning you mention. And I am all for R&D in schools and lab-based learning.

      Thanks for the comment.

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