Save the Date!
Liz Garden, principal of Mayo Elementary School in the Wachusett Regional School District will be our first guest for the Inspired Learning Conversation. Liz is known for her passion for reading and sharing that enthusiasm with students and staff alike. She'll share practical and creative strategies she's implemented to foster a community of joyful readers. In addition, we'll explore her strategies for building and enhancing school culture when administrators transition to a new school or district. We'll also dive into Mayo's new UDL initiative which has quickly yielding Inspired Learning opportunities for students and staff alike. We'll touch upon these topics and your questions as we kick off year three of the Inspired Learning Project.
You can join us live at 3:30 PM ET by clicking here. We'll also post the video and a recap on the blog following the conversation next week.
This week I sat down with Mendon-Upton Superintendent Joe Maruszczak to discuss a range of ideas that shape and support Inspired Learning. We started with the concept "playing the whole game" in school that was developed by Harvard Professor David Perkins. In hindsight, the idea should have been unpacked more in the microcast and this excerpt from Education at Bat provides a succinct overview:
Why think about little league? Perkins says that in baseball, as in playing an instrument, one learns what it is to play the whole game first, and then to fine tune aspects of it over time.
Authenticity is a hallmark of Inspired Learning and the idea of "playing the whole game" provides a useful heuristic for instructional design.
We also explored possible tools for capturing the outcomes of Inspired Learning experiences. Our conversation focused on portfolio tools that provide more comprehensive evidence of student learning. Among the resources we discussed were Badgr (open digital badges), bulb, Richer Picture and tried and true blogging approaches like Wordpress. With these tools, we can support students as they craft multimedia stories that better capture the depth and meaning of their learning experiences.
The assessment component of our conversation was sparked by Shane Parrish's new book "The Great Mental Models." It's first model is "The Map is Not The Territory." This model is particularly relevant in public education where we often overly rely standardized assessments (the map) to assess the quality of our schools. It's not that this map doesn't provide useful information, but it can't possibly encompass all of of school quality or even most of it (the territory). Our current "maps" often do not capture the diversity of skills that are developed and expressed in Inspired Learning experiences. Thus, it's incumbent upon us to become cartographers and design maps that capture what we value.
Give our conversation a listen and leave us a comment with your thoughts.
,We recently spoke to Mike Caulfield, author of the free eBook Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. We touched upon a wide range of topics in digital media literacy and learning as well as hs new open modular course, Check, Please! Any educator who is working with students to cultivate research skills, information literacy or civic engagement would benefit from both the interview and exploring the course.
The Inspired Learning Conversation returns on Monday (10/28) at 4:00 PM with Dr. Julie Coiro to discuss her book From Curiosity to Deeper Learning. We'll focus on designing interest-driven inquiry experiences for students in grades K - 5. We hope you will join us.
As educators, the dilemma we face is whether we believe students need to check the sense of adventure found in these stories at the doors of our school. Do we believe in creating learning experiences that students look forward to as much as summer vacation? Are we committed to bringing an aspirational vision of school to life?
In all of our schools, educators are working to find ways to respond to these challenges. At Nipmuc Regional, one way we are answering these questions is through the creation of Learning Adventures.
Learning Adventures are non-traditional learning experiences that are fun, active, and build the skills needed for success in the real world. Throughout the year, students and teachers will work together to co-construct Learning Adventures in courses across all departments - finding active, innovative, and meaningful ways to ignite students’ curiosity and develop the competence and confidence needed for success in the world beyond our campus.
While we will develop Learning Adventures in Nipmuc’s courses, we’re also excited to develop district-wide Learning Adventures. Through the support of the Mendon-Upton Education Foundation, this year a team of 8 elementary students, 8 middle school students, 8 high school students, and educators from each school in the district will design, plan, and explore their own Learning Adventure. Through these non-traditional learning experiences, they will show us how we can reimagine our curriculum in order to bring the MURSD Portrait of a Learner to life.
Beginning this week, we’ve begun the process of seeking student and faculty volunteers to join our adventure. Will they learn to sail? Climb a mountain? Explore an urban adventure? Our team will choose their own adventure!
Learning Adventures are one way we’re looking to reimagine what learning looks like in our school. What are some of the ways that your schools have taken on this challenge? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
As the African proverb goes, “It takes a village…” At the Inspired Learning Project, we are believers that the work to reimagine our schools isn’t a one-person or one school job. Throughout our work, we have emphasized the need to include our entire community, school and beyond, in our vision and our journey. Just as each of you is inspired by a sense of purpose in this work, it is our job to help create this same sense of urgency with our students, parents, and community members to support our work as we reimagine school.
“[Urgency] comes from a lot of places... It certainly doesn’t happen naturally in organizations. Organizations have a general tendency to want to stabilize and just kind of stay there. And urgency goes like this, even with good people. That has nothing to do with it. So you have to understand its importance, you have to be dedicated to wanting to create it, because you see what it can do for you, for the organization, for society. And then you provide the leadership no matter where you are in the organization, to make it happen.” - John Kotter
While we can often find a sense of urgency in some members of our communities, the challenge becomes creating a wide spread sense of urgency across our communities to support this work. With that in mind, the Inspired Learning Team is excited to launch its Inspired Learning Library, designed to help explore these ideas, spark conversations, generate excitement and maybe most importantly build a sense of urgency that will fuel our work as we reimagine what school can be.
You may have seen the new tab added to the website! The Inspired Learning Library is a compilation of books from forward-thinking authors that hold the potential to evoke a sense of urgency about the need to reimagine school. As a living library, the books enter our school and community and are passed from person to person. Check out the Inspired Learning Library tab to learn more about this grant-funded project and how to kick-off your own Inspired Learning Library in your community.
Have suggestions for books that have helped to develop your sense of urgency and fuel your work to reimagine school? Add your ideas in the Padlet below to share your favorites with the Inspired Learning community.
Click above to share a practice that promotes student agency, ignites students' passions, or creates a bridge between classrooms & the real world.
Click above to nominate an educator to be celebrated by the Inspired Learning Project.