Why has it been so many months since I last wrote an EIC blog post update?
Two main reasons:
With Nevada's education budget shrinking daily (Las Vegas is feeling like a ghost town), schools don't know how they will possibly cut MORE from their budgets when they have already been operating on razer thin budgets for years before COVID. Many students still do not have adequate computers or connections at home. Kids are falling behind more every day - especially children of color and economic disadvantage who don't have quality of support at home or quality of learning programs through their teachers.
On the bright side, NV leadership is taking action to support innovative initiatives such as ours. Superintendent Ebert and her hardworking staff are doing a heroic job of supporting districts with educator professional development for remote and digital learning and teaching programs. Dr. Ebert launched a Blue Ribbon Commission for education innovation last week that I am honored to be invited to sit on and optimistic about the direction in which the group is moving - supported by forward-looking students and leaders from schools, districts, states, and non-profit organizations - and facilitated by KnowledgeWorks.
Further feeding my optimism is an emerging partnerships with UNLV College of Education - as new interim Dean Danica Hayes and team see how Learning Labs can be a host for learning sciences and advanced technologies (AR/VR/AI Interaction & Media Sciences Lab) for demonstrations, research, and development - putting Nevada on the map as a true leader in education innovation.
Yet another promising development last week that has inspired me to write this update, is a conversation with Kelly Young, President of Education Reimagined and then reading her compelling article today (published by Getting Smart) entitled The Time to Redesign is NOW! You will see Education Reimagined's references throughout EIC's website (in process of overhaul) as ER's A Transformational Vision for Education paper was a key inspiration for our writing of the XQ SuperSchool grant way back in 2016 - which got us to semi-finals!
Having spent 18 months of participatory research by a large group of diverse stakeholders years ago, Kelly and team's vision remains as relevant as ever - and more urgent! As this table indicates, the logical education paradigm for a networked world is one that is learner-centered; highly personalized, competency-based deep learning experiences supported by a stable and supportive relationship network of adults and peers who engage in self-directed discovery together:
As Kelly and I were discussing with our team members, and she wrote so eloquently in her article today, COVID is forcing us to move NOW to manifest this inevitable and essential paradigm shift.
In 2020, we now have the technology tools and platforms to make this vision a reality - as Kelly details in her article. All we need is the generosity of innovation-minded private funders and employers in each community and region along with the collective WILL to collaborate to prototype the new systems. We are confident that with a smart and talented core team, we can scale a learner-centric system quickly and cost-effectively through a Learning Lab prototype program led by student design teams starting in the Spring.
The truth is, we don't have the time to make this transition slowly - over three to five years as the traditional change cycle would indicate. Why? Because doing so would advantage the students who get these rich and powerful experiences in the first year while disadvantaging those who are relegated to years 2 and after.
Does this ambitious and urgent opportunity to transform education light your fire - as it does mine?
Are you ready to put Nevada on the map as a leader in transformative learning ecosystems in which EVERY student-learner-citizen thrives to their full potential?
Then join us to make it a reality NOW!
To learn more about our vision, mission, and strategy, check out the first section of EIC's Journey to Transform slide deck (a collaborative working draft - welcome your input).
Thank you so much for your vision, talents, compassion, and collaboration!
Founding Director, Education Innovation Collaborative