Bookmarked Modern Learners Podcast #48: Timeless Learning With Pam Moran and Ira Socol by Will Richardson (Modern Learners)
Timeless Learning by Ira Socol, Pam Moran, and Chad Ratliff may just be the best book I’ve read about how to change schools and bring all the things we know are important about progressive learning to traditional public and private schools.
In this conversation with Ira Socol and Pam Moran, they discuss education change and reform. It was an interesting episode. There were two quotes that stood out to me:

How do you get people to change? You have to change the question – Ira Socol

You have to start with your values and beliefs and who’s in change and whose voice matters – Pam Moran

Liked If You Really Want to Change School, You Need to Change the Lens by Will Richardson (Modern Learners)

Using what’s measurable as the lens that guides your work is easier, yes. But now that the world is honoring skills and dispositions over content knowledge and other things easily measurable, it’s time to change the lens. The primary lenses for our work today must be our deeply help beliefs about learning, our deeply held commitments to our children and their well-being, our clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges of the world as it operates today, and our capacity to create new cultures and practices in our classrooms that serve all of us, adults and kids, as learners first and foremost.

If You Really Want to Change School, You Need to Change the Lens
Bookmarked The Lost Art of Teaching with Gary Stager (Modern Learners)

Is instruction really necessary in schools? Just like that question, today’s conversation will make you think–maybe like you’ve never thought before. We are digging deep into the craft of teaching and what it should involve. The conversation includes our friend, mentor, and educational leader, Gary Stager, who rolls out ambitious and daring initiatives with his teacher training institutes.

Gary’s focus is on the nature of teaching. He says that since the mid-80’s, we have removed the art of teaching from teacher training, and now we have a generation of teachers who don’t know how to teach. Because of this, we need to create a productive context for learning and “bridge the gap.” How is this done? We need good projects instead of “reckless instruction.” Gary believes that deep, meaningful learning is often accompanied by obsession. He focuses on answering the question: How can we create experiences and context in classrooms where kids can discover things they don’t know they love? This is done by implementing good projects that spur creativity, ownership, and relevance.

As always, Gary Stager challenges many assumptions about learning, education and schools. Having been toone of his sessions, there is a certain magic in Stager’s deft provocation at the point of need. What he demonstrates is the importance of understanding the curriculum in order to celebrate the spread of learning, rather than using the curriculum as a guide.
Replied to Podcast #39 – Using Adaptive Change Methods to Revolutionize Education (Modern Learners)
Do you know the difference between technical change and adaptive change? Most change in schools involves technical change, like “dressing up” the current situation, but not really addressing the underlying issues. Adaptive change, as defined by Harvard’s Ron Heifetz, is changing culture, worldview, and self-worth. These are the changes that are the hardest to make and require a re-imagination of our culture and our basic roles. The message is that we need to stop “playing around the edges” and make changes that really get to the core.


Another interesting listen, with so much to reflect upon.

One thing that stood out though was Will Richardson’s reference to “a post shared on LinkedIn and Facebook.” I wonder if this is the ‘Modern’ world, one ruled by platform capitalism? If:

We need to stop “playing around the edges” and make changes that really get to the core

then I wonder if this is really the core?

I understand our focus should be about ‘learning’, but if there is anything to come out of the recent Cambridge Analytica revelations, then it is surely that we need a better model moving forward.

The future may not involve everyone to #DeleteFacebook, but I would hope that those leading technological change would lead the way? I have the same concern about Anil Dash writing about the open web in a post on Medium. For me, the future is the IndieWeb, for others it is a Domain of One’s Own. I think that both of these discussions touch upon the idea of a canonical URL.

Listened Revolutionizing Education Through Student Empowerment + Student Centered Learning with Peter Hutton from Modern Learners
Templestowe College, or TC as we call it in Victoria, Australia, was built to accommodate 1,000 students. At the start of 2010, those numbers had dwindled down to just over 200. Peter Hutton took on the challenge of rebuilding the school, despite severe challenges. Today, you will get to hear the story of the past 7 years, and how Peter revolutionized one school by testing assumptions and changing the way they thought about education.
Bruce Dixon and Peter Hutton discuss the story of Templestowe College (or TC) and the new step in extending the ‘revolution’.


Image via The Age

Bookmarked The Dark Arts of Our Agents of Change by Bruce Dixon (Modern Learners)
When we talk about school change, we usually refer to changeleaders, but by far the largest number of change influencers are the global tribe of curious, somewhat subversive teachers who are committed to school being a better place for their students. They are our agents of change.
Bruce Dixon reflects on the role of teachers as change agents. He identifies four tactics used:

  • Focus on learning, not on change.
  • Focus on the ‘why’ not the ‘how.’
  • See change as a journey, not a blueprint.
  • Share ideas by taking down walls not building fences.
  • Know the importance of  ‘winning the war,’ not fighting battles.

This reminds me in part of Will Richardson’s keynote for TL21C a few years ago. There Will argued for 10% at a time.