Future Schools: It's All About the Learning
In the future, our middle and high schools won't use grades and grading--at least not the way we think of grades and grading today. Parents will brag about what their children are learning. As the school year ends, students will reflect on what they learned--rather than on the grades they got. Colleges will identify qualified applicants based on what they have learned in their P-12 schools.
Students will move at their own pace; some will finish high school when they are 16 and some finish when they are 21--and both are perfectly acceptable. There will be an appreciation for the value of education throughout our society; and all students will feel valued in their schools. Teachers will teach classes and help individuals; sometimes face-to-face and sometimes online. "Sit-and-get" lecture will be replaced with active learning that includes students working and learning together--actually talking with each other during school. Questions will be asked and problems will be solved everyday. Students will view effort and struggle as value and necessary elements of the learning process.
Computers and tablets will be viewed as tools for learning and for gaining information. Students will find the data and facts that they need to make conclusions and to discover new things; to prove theorems and to create stories and art; to publish, to communicate with their learning team, and to keep lists of further areas of inquiry.
Some students are already enjoying this school experience; for others it probably sounds like a fantasy. I believe that current elementary school students will see pieces of this future school before they graduate and their children will see this school system as normal. Our society can not accept an outdated system to prepare our students for their futures. Change is not a luxury; it is a necessity. It's not about being #1 in the world; it's about doing what's right for the next generation.