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Deeper Learning Infrastructure Support

Reorganizing and Rethinking Time

Time in comprehensive high schools often is organized by traditional class periods. Revisiting all scheduled time (before and after school) is one way school leaders might build a deeper learning environment. For example, to maximize instruction for deeper learning outcomes, class periods might include

Providing Adequate and Innovative Use of Space

Given the dramatic changes in how we learn and work in the twenty-first century, the idea of redesigning students’ Technology only creates the opportunity for achieving the types of outcomes necessary for college and career readiness; the total infrastructure is what translates opportunities into outcomes. learning spaces should move from theory to practice. How can schools transform teacher-centric classrooms into dynamic learning spaces that leverage the power of collaboration and idea sharing, supported by technology to enhance real-world learning and student agency? Following are a few ideas that districts are implementing when redesigning space for deeper learning. In many cases, redesign does not require a major overhaul of physical space.


Teaching for Deeper Learning for All Students (Webinar) (February 2, 2016)
In this webinar, hosted by the Alliance and the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF), panelists explore the conditions needed to support great teaching for deeper learning. Discussion focuses on a vision for deeper learning and the teaching to support it. It explores research and best practices that support educators in providing all students with opportunities to develop the competencies they will need to succeed in the future. Panelists take an in-depth look at building a cul- ture of collective responsibility to ensure that all students have access to deeper learning. They also discuss creat- ing conditions to support deeper learning, including new roles for teachers and the allotment of sufficient time for professional learning and collaboration.

Learning Spaces Design: Creating Spaces That Work for Kids (Webinar) (December 3, 2015)
In this webinar, Pamela Moran, 2016 Virginia superintendent of the year and one of four national finalists chosen by the American Association of School Administrators for its 2016 Superintendent of the Year award, shares her district’s experience in transforming learning spaces and how these changes have impacted teaching, stu- dent learning, and district culture. She describes how all areas within the school—classrooms, hallways, libraries, gymnasiums, and other spaces—can be redesigned to accommodate project-based learning and deeper learning outcomes. She also extends the redesign outside classrooms, from the school grounds to the larger community, including equipping school buses with wi-fi.

Redesigning Learning Spaces: Creating Brain-Friendly, Blended Learning Environments (Webinar) (September 17, 2014)
This webinar provides concrete examples of how the learning environment impacts student learning and how a classroom or building makeover may be all that is needed to take student achievement to the next level. It also provides information and real school examples to assist in redesigning a classroom into one that considers brain research, gender, and digital impacts on learning.

Beyond the Field Trip: Connected Learning in Museum Spaces (Webinar) (May 8, 2014)
Increasingly, museums are going beyond the field trip to become hubs of learning, innovation, and creativity. This webinar focuses on the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, which is working with young people to build video games to complement new exhibits, using Minecraft as a springboard to science, and creating other learning opportunities that encourage students to explore their interests. Panelists provide perspectives on ways learning can take place in museums and other out- of-school places, and share how educators can both integrate museum resources into their teaching and be in- spired to try different approaches in their own classrooms.

Transforming Spaces to Transform Learning: Connected Learning in Action (Webinar) (April 3, 2014)
This webinar features the transformation of the Elizabeth Forward School District in Pennsylvania. Among the changes, librarians have been transformed into learning facilitators, beanbag chairs have replaced study carrels, and the library is now a more casual learning environment, where students can grab a beverage, explore a new technology, discuss projects with friends, and work with mentors. Students can use innovative technologies to explore their interests and connect their experience to what they are doing in the classroom. The district’s Simulated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab creates a kinesthetic learning environment that supports full-body games and new ways to experience and explore abstract concepts. The district also incorporates game design into the curriculum to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outcomes. The district assistant superintendent provides insight into how these new learning spaces were created and supported, and how students and teachers have responded.

Technology, Training, and Teaming to Ensure Great Teaching for All Students (Webinar) (August 25, 2015)
Technology has the potential to transform the teaching profession, increase opportunities for collaboration and professional learning, and improve student learning. In this webinar, panelists share data and experiences and discuss digital best practices to build teachers’ exper- tise and their ability to create powerful learning envi- ronments for their students. The discussion covers what opportunities exist now and will exist in the near future for using technology to support great teaching, how research results can be connected with what is happening in practice, and what recommendations should be put forward regarding technology integration and policy.

Creating Anytime, Anywhere Learning for All Students: Key Elements of a Comprehensive Digital Infrastructure (June 2014)
Connecting the nation’s schools and libraries to the Internet by modernizing and expanding the federal E-rate program currently dominates education technology efforts, but this report urges that adequate broadband access be accompanied by a comprehensive digital infrastructure that unlocks the potential technology to enhance student learning. The report adopts a broader definition of digital infrastructure that includes professional learning, changes in pedagogy, parent and community engagement, and assessment and data systems. A summary of the report can be found here.

Every Student Succeeds Act Primer: Digital Learning (April 26, 2016)
This one-page brief summarizes the opportunities in the Every Student Succeeds Act that support digital learning and the effective use of technology

Blended Learning: Recommendations and Resources (Webinar) (July 28, 2016)
Blended learning is the integration of in-person learning with technology to enable the use of real-time data, personalization, and competency-based progression. In this webinar, panelists

  • share solutions to top barriers (e.g., Internet connectivity, device purchasing, communication with constituents, teacher instructional competencies, monitoring progress) to implementing blended learning;
  • offer a historical body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of personalized learning and learning for mastery, both of which blended learning can enable at scale; and
  • introduce a five-step guide for districts to develop a blended learning measurement system of their own.

Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.