Wednesday, October 29, 2008

School Design Educon Session

Investigating Educon conference for next year, I watched a few ustreamed sessions from last year . Here is one on School Design I viewed facilitated by Chris Lehmann from the Science and Learning Academy.

Streaming Video by Ustream.TV

A few too many uhms in the beginning but he got better as it went on. It is definitely time to change our schools and rethink the way our spaces are created for teaching and learning.

Here are my notes on what he shares in this hour long presentation.

Says schools need to be caring institutions.
They use an Advisory system - replaced homeroom. A four year relationship is built with a staff member. Someone MUST know them over a four year period. Twenty students meet with this advisor twice a week for forty minutes. Before conference times, teachers write a detailed synopsis on each child and share with the advisor. Parent teacher conferences are held with the Advisor rather than each teacher. Attendance rates for conferences are extremely high.

Student Centered
It is not about the teacher. Teachers are not the content kings.

Inquiry Driven
5 Core academic values at SLA that drive learning......
Equally -What are the questions that we can ask together? how can we find these answers together
Researcher - how can we find good answers to those questions
Collaboration - how can we work together to make those answers richer, better, deeper
Presentation - how can we show, display and teach what we have learned
Reflections - how can we step back and ask oursleves questions about what we are, who we are and what that creates a passion for.

Understanding Driven and Project-Based - Understanding that what we are teaching are the big ideas. The details are not as important as the BIG ideas that cross disciplines. But it's difficult to measure these big ideas on
Technology Infused - Relationships, can come early & leave late, Ubiquitis,
Stop asking what and start asking WHY.

We need to get past the idea that our students need to learn every little detail. Need to know what kids can create, synthesize, do, think.

Ramifications for Design
Need to understand the possibilities and NOT limit kids.
Don't define learning. It happens everywhere! NOT just in the classrooms. Make EVERY SPACE a learning space.
Make spaces where informal learning can happen.
Make spaces that can bring together students and teachers rather than keep them separated.
Plan flexible spaces.
Build schools that break down barriers.
Technology changes everything.
Build spaces for the whole person where all students can learn.

Thanks Chris. Now I'm interested to learn more about the Science Learning Academy.

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