Deeper Learning Digest: Don’t Forget This Deeper Learning Skill
May 18, 2018 09:03 am
When we talk about deeper learning skills, we focus on critical thinking, problem solving, working collaboratively, communicating effectively, learning-to-learn, and academic mindsets, but there’s one piece we are leaving out.
This week’s digest highlights this key skill, features a successful Fab Lab story, highlights one district’s journey to deeper learning for equity, touches on student self-advocacy, and heads out to Arkansas to look at rural education.
Don’t Forget This Deeper Learning Skill
Envisioning every student as a lifetime active learner, teacher, and leader requires a less discussed deeper learning skill: student self-advocacy.
In Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog, Don Long, Director of Teaching, Leading, and Learning Policy at the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), and Ace Parsi, Personalized Learning Partnership Manager at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), write about a new report from NCLD emphasizing the need for students to be agents of their own success.
“Without these abilities, today’s students will not keep pace with an increasingly interdependent, diverse, and complex world of accelerating changes in work, technology, communications, and society,” write Long and Parsi. Self-advocacy is “critical for workers to be change agents, to show others new ways of doing things, and to craft meaningful careers across multiple jobs and new opportunities for growth.”
How can policymakers support this critical piece of deeper learning?
One District’s Journey to Deeper Learning
Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is using deeper learning as an approach to advance equity. How, you ask?
After the initial work of establishing definitions and measures for what student success means and how to measure it, the district is building a plan to “adjust curricula, teaching practice, professional development, assessments, and other aspects of the way teaching and learning occurs in our schools,” writes Florence Chang, Director of Planning and Program Evaluation at JCPS, in Education Week.
Learn how JCPS is utilizing a partnership with University of Louisville-Jefferson County Public Schools to advance their deeper learning strategies and goals.
Blown Away By a Fab Lab
A Pennsylvania district built a Fab Lab to serve as a hands-on STEM learning center for students. The results? Well, they were fabulous. Students who were struggling with discipline and attendance came to class because they enjoyed it, writes the Fab Lab Assistant Executive Director Don Martin in eSchool News. “Those who were frustrated by typical lesson plans and lectures have found the Fab Lab to be a place where their unique learning styles are engaged,” explains Martin.
But it wasn’t always easy during Martin’s shift to a project-based learning (PBL) approach. He shares three key lessons on innovating in PBL.
NOT Deeper Learning
There’s one approach that’s widely present in K-12 and college classrooms alike that doesn’t promote deeper learning–rote memorization.
Who doesn’t remember cramming for a test—and then forgetting everything right after the test was over? And yet, for generations, this has been a core feature of school experience and expectation. Thankfully, there are hundreds of schools and school districts nationwide that are reimagining what education can look like when you shift away from rote memorization and towards updated teaching methods and the integration of learning and developmental science.
In less than two minutes, the video linked below will show you why memorizing things in school is NOT the same as learning them. You’ll also see what it looks like when school and educators focus not just on basic principles and concepts, but also on the application of knowledge in new and complex situations. And you’ll learn how schools and policies could be remodeled to match the wisdom and need of the modern era.
Deeper Learning for Rural Students
How can a deeper learning approach meet the specific needs of rural students and communities?
This Rural Matters podcast episode features Matthew Swenson, assistant principal at Cross County (New Tech) High School in Cherry Valley, Arkansas. Swenson’s school is in a rural town in the Mississippi Delta, part of district made up of 600 students. On the podcast, Swenson shares how the New Tech model provides twenty-first century skills to these rural students, include strategies such as virtual internships and partnerships within the community.
Want to stay rural? This report from Future Ready Schools®, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, explains how personalized learning can help rural students develop deeper learning competencies.
Deeper Learning in Action
Twitter can be a great place to see what’s happening to promote deeper learning outcomes in (and out!) of classrooms across the country. Here are a few examples. Be sure to follow @DeeperLearning and check out #DeeperLearning for more!
— St. James CHS (@lionsnewstoday) May 8, 2018
— Neha Singh Gohil (@nehasgohil) May 15, 2018
Inspirational @CSSD11@schoolretool fellows sharing each of their #Hacker’sJourney toward #DeeperLearning in their schools and District #d11nextgen@TheScottFuller@edinitiativeco@Tara_Jahnpic.twitter.com/5SRKeUREXG — Alex Carter, Ed.D. (@AlexCEICarter) May 15, 2018
The ‘Deeper Learning Digest’ is a bi-weekly roundup of articles, blog posts, and other content around deeper learning. Be sure to follow @deeperlearning on Twitter, @deeper.learning on Instagram, and like Deeper Learning on Facebook to stay up to date on all deeper learning news.
Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.