Salon Series: Learning Places
The school has long played a vital role as the cultural core of the community. The halls and class-rooms define our formative years; the auditoriums and stadiums harbor debate and tradition; the campus bestows an idealized visage of order and intellect.
As technology affects the way we obtain, retain, and interact with information, it precipitates change not only in the way we learn – but the spaces we learn in. How can fundamental place-making strategies shape new school prototypes, and guard against the evaporation of the school as a social hub?
The Importance of Accountability
How do we know education is working? The SATs have been around for a while, but the recent emphasis on quantitative results-oriented education has left many teachers feeling like their own creativity is being stifled. Does tenure allow professors to slack off, or give them the creative freedom to challenge their students and educational models without the fear of unpopular opinions or unconventional ideas costing them their jobs? The answer to that shouldn’t depend on who you ask. Creativity, level of engagement, passion – these are difficult ideas to measure. With 70+ million equally important data points enrolled in K-12 or Higher Ed in this country, our datasets are large. Here’s hoping the ubiquity of technology may soon allow for the quantification of success on an individual level with qualitative data.
Passion vs. Reality
When educators push students to pursue their passions, there is the blunt reality of what is achievable. Reaching within the sphere of a student’s passion still counts and can engage them enough to play and pursue with purpose.
Education is Continuous
We never stop learning even after we leave the education system. Smoothing the transition from higher education to adulthood is an important asset to build into our formal systems. (This is evidenced in both the good and the bad. The good – an embrace of flexible options like Codecademy online allowing adults to grow and learn for free. The bad – a steep rise in private student loans for additional degrees, often of questionable value.)
Looking Forward to Move Forward
There have been critics of the current educational system since its inception. Is there common ground on what's better? What’s holding us back? The radio, the television, and the desktop computer were all once hailed as the modern day savior of education. The iPad is likely the next piece of equipment to be added to that list as a failure, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try new things. Educators, administrators, students, designers and others should look to the future and gain some perspective instead of pointing fingers at each other and the past.
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Here's your Homework
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