Monday, November 7, 2011

Reforming schools for the Knowledge Age

Ørestad College (Denmark)
Current public schools are based on an industrial model of schooling: Standardisation and conveyor-belt analogy.

For example:
-Students are grouped by birth-year; Bells and periods; Sitting in rows; Separate isolated subjects; Fixed time to finish a certain grade; Individual standardised testing.

We need to re-think the current schooling paradigm to create a post-industrial school model. We need schools for the Knowledge Age that focus on technology-enhanced project-based collaborative learning. We need schools that support students to learn how they learn best, monitor their own learning progress, and are driven to become life-long learners. 

For example, as an alternative to grouping students by age, they could be group by their performance level, early birds/night owls (morning school/ evening school), work individually/ in small or large groups (depends on context and personal preference).

Research found evidence that industrial-age schooling reduced creative (and divergent) thinking (as students are conditioned for "there-is-only-one-right-answer" thinking).

See this fascinating animation that illustrates the inspiring TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson:

A number of model schools world-wide lead the way towards a post-industrialist way of learning:
A few examples:
-High Tech High school in San Diego (USA)
-Northern Beaches Christian School in Sydney (Australia)
-Reggio Emilio schools (Italy)

Companies like innovative offer support for reformers to model their schools after successful models.

Education research aims to gain a more complex picture of learning through the field of the "learning sciences". The learning sciences pursue an interdisciplinary approach to further scientific understanding of learning and to implement innovative learning environments. The bi-annual conference ICLS brings togethers researchers from across the world who study learning as a complex multi-layered system.

This video shows some interesting novel physical and virtual learning environments:

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