Remember when we were excited to bid farewell to 2019, hopeful and optimistic for the New Year?
Then 2020 hit and we were all:
Every time I want to bury my head in the sand, deflated and defeated by current events, I’m inspired by someone else’s fight for a better future. Many times that someone else is a former student. They are now adults, holding jobs and starting families, on the front lines of change. The circle of life reminds me they’ve come a long way since high school English class! It also reminds me that the responsibility to continue the fight for equity is a shared one.
Opportunities for learning must span races, genders, professions, and cultures. We all have to work together to change the wheres and hows of education. Then, and only then, can we begin to change the world. Equity in education is among the many benefits of a broad and collaborative learning ecosystem as explained in this most recent Tomorrow, powered by Remake Learning campaign article.
Learning ecosystems help break silos and scaffold collaboration and equity for students, educators, and communities
The Remake Learning network began more than 15 years ago and has grown to include 600 school districts, universities, museums, nonprofits and other organizations. Learning ecosystems connect students to their physical environment and to the issues in their communities, says Valerie Hannon, an education consultant and co-founder of Innovation Unit. She co-authored the report “Local Learning Ecosystems: Emerging Models,” which states:
“When (students) engage with a range of resources within a broader community, charged with the power of social interaction in the connected world, learners of all ages, temperaments, and aptitudes can seize greater opportunities that better meet their needs.”
These opportunities are especially important for young people in communities “that have been historically kept furthest from opportunity, who don’t have the luxury of developing those types of professional networks and social capital while still in school,” says Carlos Moreno, co-director of Big Picture Learning.
This fall, the Heinz Endowments plans to introduce the Pittsburgh Readiness Institute (PRI), “a unique, out-of-school-time training program involving schools, local employers and civic leaders in helping students prepare for productive lives at school, on the job and in society.” My favorite part of the PRI is that future educators have the same opportunity I did as a first-year teacher: rather than talk at us in a classroom or auditorium, my principal piled all us newbies in the district van and drove us into the neighborhoods where our students lived. Our principal believed a deep understanding of who our students were would help us connect with them.
Dr. Tyra Good, who has taught education at Chatham University and founded the learning consultancy Good Knowledge Connections, agrees:
“A lot of my classes are outside of the four walls of the classroom.”
Inaccurate impressions and negative stereotypes are dispelled when future teachers come to community meetings and meet families. Less tangible yet highly regarded skills like problem-solving, effective communication and resilience are learned when the formal classroom is replaced with community outreach.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) hosts a semester-long project that gives local high school students ready access to cutting-edge technology. Former CMU professor, Randy Pausch, who also co-founded the ETC and authored The Last Lecture before his untimely death in 2008, believed “failing forward” is what real-world creating is all about. Remake Learning echoes that sentiment with it’s flexible approach to collaborative, authentic learning that can happen just about anywhere, in any community.
In a time where the only certainty is uncertainty, school districts will be forced to assess their futures. Education consultant Suzie Boss writes in her book All Together Now: “school systems can’t hope to make significant shifts in teaching and learning in isolation from their communities. More than ever… schools need partners…Buy-in from the entire community is essential if students are going to have opportunities to take part in meaningful, real-world learning that extends beyond the classroom.”
And in a country where change is not only simply required–it is demanded–we must work together to make it happen. Follow #RemakeTomorrow on social media to learn more about Tomorrow campaign, an educational initiative for every learner, everywhere.
Proud to partner with The Motherhood on this sponsored post