Self-Selecting, Real-World Learning Communities

Pause to reflect…
Walter suggests:
“Children are past the point of needing to master content. They can find the information they need on the fly in real time from anywhere. Instead, they need the skills and understandings of how to

problem solve,
create products of value,
practice conflict resolution,
self-monitor their work performance, and
learn from risk-taking regardless of the outcome.
If students can learn and practice these kinds of skills, they will be ready for whatever their adult world looks like, regardless of the information at hand…But society has continued to grow and morph, and being able to master a set scope and sequence of memorized facts, rote vocabulary and basic heuristics no longer meets the needs in a collaborative, competitive global economy. If we continue training bean counters, they will serve those who can ask important questions, find valuable answers, and deliver innovative breakthroughs in ways our generation cannot even imagine.”
Think about that. Bean Counters. Not innovators. Not problem-solvers. What is the value of education, and what does that mean for our pedagogy and curriculum? If information is readily at hand, isn’t our focus the analysis, verification, synthesis, and application/innovation of that information to better the world?

Play to learn…
Isn’t it time we build the learning communities that fit today’s world? Not the business world, but the world of helping each other as citizens of a connected world?

Read Walter’s post and think about reform — and your children and grandchildren’s futures.


ImageImagine in your mind, a map of your community. Nothing detailed; just the boundaries and general lay of the land. Got it? Now add in the major areas in your community where people live and work and play. You know, to give yourself some bearings with a few landmarks. Still with me? Good! Now convert this mental image into a heat map. You know, where the hot spots flare up in bright yellows, oranges and reds? Picture in your mind hot spots that indicate places people go to learn new things and practice skills that are important to them. Where are those heat surges? Athletic fields? Dance studios? Book stores? Parks and beaches? Art galleries? Theaters? How about school buildings? No? Why aren’t school building hot spots on anyone’s heat map?

Karen Pittman discussed this this at the recent ASCD Whole Child Symposium Live Event: “Learning communities need to…

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