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Why the Creative Class Needs to 'Lean in' to Education Reform

Creatives need to engage and provide feedback education, and the result will ultimately lead to more action.


It's extraordinary how the narrative of American public education—and its reform—is shifting. Creatively motivated people are propelling an undercurrent and it's an encouraging stimulus to the larger movement. It is, indeed, a time to facilitate "education for all"—aiming high to do so with better, more dynamic standards. But we need more people doing. We need more "denters," as a good advisor once told me.

Concerned educators have led the mainstream front for years—Bill Damon and Wendy Kopp come to mind, along with Michelle Rhee and others. A major difference today, however, is that the creative class is willing to lean in for a stronger push. The core of this creative movement is full of individuals who care to see things change for the future of this country, and the state of education has come to the forefront. Still, there is so much more to do and so much to more to contribute.

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PSA: Please Stop Saying '21st Century Education'

Grant Lichtman went on a cross-country trip to 64 schools in 21 states to find out how we prepare our students for their future, not our past.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZEZTyxSl3g&feature=youtu.be

If you ever find yourself sitting in a meeting—or listening to a politician's speech—about education reform, it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll hear mention of how schools need to ensure kids are "21st century learners," who are acquiring "21st century skills," in a "21st century classroom." But in the thirteenth year of the 21st century, what does any of this "21st century education" talk mean—and is it even happening?

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'Disruptavors' Hit the Road to Discover the Future of Higher Education

In 2013 the Educate 20/20 Roadtour plans to journey coast-to-coast to document innovations on campus.


There's no question the landscape in higher education is changing. Universities and colleges are scrambling to create new curricula, tap into toolkits, introduce MOOCs and integrate project-based learning to be positioned on the edge of 21st century higher education. But the landscape is fresh and experiments are abundant. Some ideas are half-baked, some deliver old stories in new ways, while others are truly groundbreaking.

The only problem is the world doesn't yet know which is which and the metabolism of innovation hasn't been optimized. That's why, starting in February 2013, eight of us are hitting the road with the Educate 20/20 Roadtour to find out for ourselves and share our discoveries with the world.

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Why Every School Needs an 'Innovation Day'

A teacher in the U.K. organized a day where students could choose what and how to learn.


Google’s policy of 20 percent time—giving employees plenty of free time work on whatever they want—is world famous for being the birthplace of innovative products— most famously, Gmail. But what would happen if schools gave students a similar amount of unstructured free time and allowed them to take control of their own learning? This spring Matthew Bebbington, a high school physical education teacher in the U.K., decided to find out. He organized a school-wide "Innovation Day" that let 80 students between the ages of 11-15 choose what and how to learn.

Bebbington writes on The Guardian’s Teacher Network blog that far from taking an extended recess the students "worked solidly for six hours, cross-pollinating across different projects, ages and abilities." Although the teens knew nothing they did throughout the day would receive a grade or appear on a test, Bebbington says requiring them to publicly present their projects at the end of the day, fostered accountability and a "we must make this brilliant" attitude.

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GOOD Video: How Do We Make Learning Relevant to Students?

Future Learning, a micro documentary from GOOD, taps the expertise of education innovators from around the globe.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC_T9ePzANg

This post is in partnership with University of Phoenix

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It's Time for Some Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education

This weekend's TEDxAshokaU event is bringing together innovators who are shaking up higher education.


Technological innovations are placing information right at our fingertips for free when it used to only be available if you went to college; it's clear that we're on the cusp of a higher education revolution. But how do we figure out what new approaches are best for 21st century learners? At "Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education," a TEDxAshokaU event happening this weekend in Tempe, Ariz., more than 500 educators and innovators are coming together to share their big ideas.

The event kicks off this evening with TED talks from several innovators like Dale Stephens, the 20-year-old founder of UnCollege, a social movement that's empowering students to create their own education, and Abigail Falik, the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, an organization working to build a leadership pipeline of individuals with global skills. Each speaker will share their experience and perspective on how we can create a new system that works. I'm also one of the speakers and I'll be sharing some of the game-changing innovations that I've written about that are shaking up education.

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