Monday morning ideation – imagining the future of schools and schools of the future #WhatIfWeekly

Three idea seeds from my weekend “studying”…

1. What if we developed “nutrition info” for our school courses? Looking at an egg crate this weekend, I wondered why we don’t have something like this for our courses in schools? How might we develop guides for the 7Cs that could accompany a course description and indicate to folks what’s actually in the content-and-skills meal that one’s about to partake in?

2. What if we understood capital-P PBL as futebol de salão? Reading Farnam Street, I learned about a game credited with developing the soft skills of young Brazilian soccer players.

This insanely fast, tightly compressed five-on-five version of the game— played on a field the size of a basketball court— creates 600 percent more touches, demands instant pattern recognition and, in the words of Emilio Miranda, a professor of soccer at the University of São Paulo, serves as Brazil’s “laboratory of improvisation.”

For students working on real-life problems in a curriculum more balanced toward challenges and contexts, instead of so content-centric, they could be developing such soft skills for problem finding and problem solving in comparable improvisation labs for applying their interrelated subjects of math, science, English, history, etc.

3. What if we devised ways for personal learning, like Susan Solomon describes medicine is developing personal drug treatments? Listening to the TED talk “Susan Solomon: The promise of research with stem cells.” I was struck by this part of the transcript:

But it isn’t really enough just to look atthe cells from a few people or a small group of people,because we have to step back.We’ve got to look at the big picture.Look around this room. We are all different,and a disease that I might have,if I had Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease,it probably would affect me differently than ifone of you had that disease,and if we both had Parkinson’s disease,and we took the same medication,but we had different genetic makeup,we probably would have a different result,and it could well be that a drug that worked wonderfullyfor me was actually ineffective for you,and similarly, it could be that a drug that is harmful for youis safe for me, and, you know, this seems totally obvious,but unfortunately it is not the waythat the pharmaceutical industry has been developing drugsbecause, until now, it hasn’t had the tools.

And so we need to move awayfrom this one-size-fits-all model.The way we’ve been developing drugs is essentiallylike going into a shoe store,no one asks you what size you are, orif you’re going dancing or hiking.They just say, “Well, you have feet, here are your shoes.”It doesn’t work with shoes, and our bodies aremany times more complicated than just our feet.So we really have to change this.

Too much of formalized education in schools seems targeted to the mean…or overly generalized, so that many experience something comparable to the shoe store that says, “Well, you have feet, here are your shoes.” With the advances in technology and brain research, how might we design personal learning, like Solomon describes designing personal drug treatment?

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