I’m continuing to prepare for a day-long workshop in Amarillo next Saturday on “Powerful Ingredients for Digitally Interactive Learning,” and I came across the video “21st century schools” from Dr. Stephen Heppell today on the Shanghai Learning 2.0 Ning. I’ve added this to my “Videos for PD” blog page.

Being a big fan of railroads and analogies of today’s learning environment to bygone days of railroad glory, I especially enjoyed Stephen’s comparisons of people thinking about schools today and the way railroad advocates were dubious about the newly introduced technology, “the automobile.” This video, in my view, makes a strong case for blended learning where the learning connection between home and school is seamless.

For more video analogies about railroads and hyperlinked learning, see David Warlick’s 2006 keynote for the K-12 Online Conference (“Derailing Education: Taking Sidetrips for Learning”) and my video “Roads of Learning in the 21st Century,” which I included in a longer related discussion in the post “Railroads and virtual connections.”

Railroad close up in Dalhart, Texas

Stephen’s longer video, “Space The Final Frontier,” is also worth checking out on the subject of changing schools and technology’s proper role in these changes. An online forum has been created to discuss the ideas in this video.

Stephen’s discussion about “agility” versus “flexibility” as well as collegiality, community, and “us-ness” reminds me of The Oklahoma City COworking COllaborative, which I’m eager to check out in person later this month. The physical design of learning spaces is SO important, and as we redesign / retool schools I think it’s pivotal we pay more attention to this. Consider the design of the physical space of OkcCoCo:

design of OKCCoCo

Looks inviting, doesn’t it? Our schools should look more inviting as well.

Stephen also discusses the importance of getting and keeping the ATTENTION of students in the 21st century, which reminds me of a favorite piece: Michael Goldhaber’s 1997 article, “The Attention Economy and the Net.” My three part podcast series on the attention economy (including its implications for schools) continues to be an important part of my own lens / frame for looking at the world.

My favorite quotation of the video is at the end, when Stephen said:

The future of higher education is in our hands, if we design it for the 21st century.

David Clews video, “SPACE: The Movie,” is a 4 minute response to Stephen’s video.

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  • http://www.100goldenkeys.com Joe P.

    Creativity in the workplace and schools is at an all time low. We must focus on this in order to not only be happy, but to stay competitive as a nation! Thanks for posting these.

  • http://www.gravitysgrace.net Andrew B. Watt

    The spaces our schools build tend to be conservative, and uncreative. They also tend to be small, cramped, and unaware of the latest discoveries in technology, neuroscience, or architectures of learning.

    I think that we need to get teachers together with architects from the New Urbanist movement, and begin redesigning what schools need.

  • Pingback: Hebrew Scriptures and More . . . . » 21st Century Schools & Biblical/Theological Education()

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