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Arne Duncan, Here Is Great Classroom Design From Metropolis.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on February 23, 2009

The new Secretary of Education, Chicago’s Arne Duncan, has a few billion bucks from the Stimulus Bill to build and renovate classrooms. These few billions in a bill of nearly $800 billion may be the most important spent by the Obama administration. Why? We need to redesign the learning experience to reconnect childrens’ culture to learning culture. And Metropolis magazine has a great feature out called “Can Design Help Kids Learn?

Back in the day—19th and much of the 20th century, there wasn’t much of a disconnect between the two. Manufacturing dominated the economy and the culture. Command and control, assembly line production, quality testing at the end of the process—sound like car manufacturing or K-12 education? Kind of hard to distinguish the two.

Now all of that has changed. In fact, the younger you are, the more the change. Kids live in a world of digitalization, collaboration, participation and inquiry. The most important skill is search, not memormization. This is not the culture of schools, which remain mired in manufacturing culture and increasingly alienate even the best of students.

The Metropolis examples of new schools and new schoolrooms are full of learning by doing, green buildings and rediscovered urbanism. There is perhaps too much emphasis on sustainability and not enough on curriculum, but the page on “Ten Tips For Creating a 21st Century Classroom Experience” by IDEO is terrific. Sandy Speicher made up the list and she runs IDEO’s Design for Learning practice (OK, which other innovation consultancies have a special education practice? Why not—that’s where the big bucks are today).

My favorite tips for creating a 21st century classroom experience?

#5—No Sage on Stage. Step away from the front of the room and engage your audience as a guide. The role of the teacher is transformed from the expert telling people the answer to an enabler of learning.

#10—Change the discourse. If you want to drive new behavior, you have to measure new things. Skills such as creativity and collaboration can’t be measured on a bubble chart. We need to create new assessments for 21st century skills.

What are you favorite tips? What else should we add to the list? We are all design educators now. Excuse, I’m off to curate my lecture series at Parsons School of Design called Design at the Edge.

Reader Comments

Rick Snyder, TANDBERG

February 27, 2009 7:43 PM

What if we allow the students to become the teachers? This gives them an active role in authentically applying their curriculum centered knowledgebase as they work with other students. Collaboration technologies such as video conferencing and peer-to-peer networks challenge students to develop and present engaging programs to their peers globally. In this way, interactive video becomes a very powerful tool in the hands of creative teachers and students. The learning process comes full circle once the student — "guided on the side" by the instructor — imagines, creates and delivers the content.

joyce svitak

April 16, 2009 10:20 PM

Video conference is one of the best tools that students can use to improve their learning and sharing knowledge, improve their presentation skill. Adora is a student teacher who uses Tandberg system to deliver more than 250 presentations to schools all over the world. Watch her on youtube Adora svitak and her website

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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