Designing organizations – and schools – for wisdom. A fascinating case study full of provocations, encouragements, and challenges to us all.
“No longer should we have school and real life as separate entities.” So concludes Eric Sheninger’s TEDxBurnsvilleED talk: “Schools that work for kids.” Thanks to @Kat_A_Jones, a sophomore member of the Innovation Diploma Disney Cohort for sharing this talk with our team.
For whom is school really designed?
For awhile, I’ve used the term “School 3.0.” When I do, a number of people ask me what I mean by that.
School 1.0: the “traditional” or industrial-age model of school where information transfer from teacher to student is the dominant and defining characteristic. Verbs such as “deliver” and “cover” are used a lot. The currency is grades on a 100-pt scale (in recent half century).
School 2.0: the “21st century movement” in schooling where some number of “Cs” dominate the conversation (communication, collaboration, creative thinking, etc.); information exchanges in two directions and phrases such as “student-centered” are heard frequently. Technology enables some pull-based education. School works to model more of how the world learns outside of school. The currency of school 2.0 leans much more towards learning, and SBG is at least practiced by several progressive thinkers, if not the entire faculty.
School 3.0: the next wave (hopefully) of school transformation. Learning is deeply contextual and relevant. PBL (with a capital P) dominates the mode of work as “schools” (placed-based collections of teacher-learners, student-learners, and parent-learners — more like schools of fish than mere school buildings) are partnered with community organizations, civic leadership, and for-profit and not-for-profit business to address real-world challenges and opportunities. Shifts thinking about school as merely “preparation” for something later and recognizes that people of all ages learn by doing and desire to be positive forces of change in their worlds. The currency is the stuff that matters — the challenges and opportunities for social and capitalistic improvement, betterment, and innovation.
Well, on Friday, August 22, 2014, I spent a full day in School 3.0
Mary Cantwell (@scitechyedu) was invited as the Director of the Center for Design Thinking at The Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation to facilitate two half-days of professional learning and implementation of design thinking with Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Particularly, Cantwell was asked to work with the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (@CDC_NCBDDD) through the Open Idea Lab.
Additionally, Mount Vernon’s Inaugural Innovation Diploma Cohort was also invited to co-facilitate and participate in the partnership to address three SHI (Strategic Health Initiatives): 1) pregnancy and safe Rx drug use, 2) ADHD overmedication versus behavior therapy, and 3) blood clotting. Director of the iDiploma Meghan Cureton (@MeghanCureton) and I collaborated with the twelve student learners (freshmen, sophomores, and juniors at #MVUpper) in the cohort. Also, colleagues James Campbell (@theRealJamCam) and T.J. Edwards (@TJEdwards62) rounded out the team of educators and agents of @MVIFI.
On Friday, “school” for us involved significant collaboration with three CDC SHI teams to employ design thinking to advance our understanding of and to address the strategic health initiatives that the CDC_NCBDDD focused on during its time in the Open Idea Lab that day. Teen agers and doctors and educators and research scientists were bound up together in SHI teams doing the work of learners, problem-solvers, professionals, engaged citizen leaders, design thinkers, difference makers, etc. Everyone brought strengths and limitations to the tables. Everyone drew on the contributions that others offered.
Progress was made Friday. On three SHI. And on School 3.0.
Read about more of the details in one or more of these posts by my colleagues – those young and
old not as young:
- “Enthusiastic: adj., Interested, Excited” blog post by Pinya
- “What if students experienced learning in the ‘Real World’?” Storify by James Campbell
- “iD Students Accept First Challenge” blog post by Meghan Cureton
- “#DEEPdt (i)gnite Workshop” blog post by Mary Cantwell
- “#DEEPdt (i)gnite…laying the groundwork” blog post by Mary Cantwell
- “Glimpse of School 3.0 – #iDiploma + CDC” Storify curated by Bo Adams
I love this talk from Aziza Chaouni: How I brought a river, and my city, back to life.
As I watch, I see an inspirational activist and change maker. And I see a meta-lesson. I see the potential and possibility of dozens and dozens (thousands?!) of student learners giving just such a talk to showcase and share the work that they are engaged in — as their school work — to make a difference in their project(s) of passion and curiosity as engaged citizen leadership.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have watched a TED or TEDx talk everyday since May 11, 2011. Maybe it’s rewired my brain somehow. Because I see in my mind’s eye a virtual rolodex of project stories — to spark, to inspire, to model storytelling, to demonstrate the integrated and connected nature of real-world learning.
Imagine schools across the world where student learners are giving such updates on their project work. What if they joined the rolodex of examples?
Imagine. Make happen. What are the possibilities?
I am thinking of writing a series of blog posts about project ideas that could happen within a school – projects that could both transform school and, ultimately, transform us beyond school. This is my second prototype. I’d love to know what you think.
How serious are we – U.S. schools and educators – about educating citizens for our American democracy?
How many of our schools allow for, or even promote, student governments that model and mirror the three-part system of our governmental system?
Imagine a high school that elected two senators for each grade level. Imagine that high school electing representatives for each grade level, based on population of the grade level. Or perhaps advisories or homerooms could provide for the “state” structure to mimic.
What if there were a true judiciary of the student body, elected and appointed just in the same mechanisms as our U.S., state, and municipal judiciaries?
What if there were a true executive branch of the student government, elected and empowered in the same manner and mechanism as our President, governors, and mayors?
Imagine that such a system started in elementary school, progressed through middle school, and culminated in high school.
Over the years, how might our democratic citizenship be “practiced” in the ways of leading and participating in our civic structure and responsibilities?
Imagine a student or group of students who became so passionate about such an idea that they made it happen. Image if they lived the lessons they are being taught in U.S. History and Government classes.
What system of government are students actually practicing in school? Is it a representative democracy? Is it a relative dictatorship? I wonder what that’s teaching them over 13 years.
What if they lived and practiced the system that we want them to take responsibility for? What if we operated school in the ways that would more authentically educate a citizen of our democracy?
Imagine. Make happen. What are the possibilities?
I am thinking of writing a series of blog posts about project ideas that could happen within a school – projects that could both transform school and, ultimately, transform us beyond school. This is my first prototype. I’d love to know what you think.