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Created on July 29 , 2013 @ 09:48 AM GMT

Applying urban renewal models to education

Many education systems find it challenging to change their ways of working to meet the needs of the new economy and communities. This is especially the case in relation to digital technology and approaches to learning.

By 2012, 'education reform' become a tired policy catch cry. Then sell-out education keynoters diagnosed the industrial education factory model problem, yet few spoke in detail about a remedy.

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    • As we approach 2020, mainstream education arguably remains trapped in 'the industrial model'. Perhaps we ought to look at post-industrial change in urban renewal zones in old industrial cities? What can we learn from that transformation and how much of that shift is relevant to education?

    • The world is filled with old industrial areas transformed into more creative spaces that deliver timely and valued services and experiences to their inhabitants. Areas of urban renewal remain sophisticated places, but their sophistication is different to their industrial beginnings.

      The industrial roots of renewed zones are featured and respected, but the uses and values of those places have changed altogether. Urban renewal zones are valued for their iconic remnants. People compete to live in urban renewal zones for very different reasons to when the industrial areas were first created. Perhaps schools will follow this pattern, renewing themselves as they are valued differently, as their uses change?

      Applying the urban renewal analogy, we find that reform just tries to change things, whereas renewal revalues and re-uses things. Renewal also implies rebirth. Industrial sites went through blight, they emptied, stopped and grew weeds. Then came renewal. It seems that schools cannot stop. Perhaps they do stop in a sense even though students and teachers continue to turn up?

      Could this be why the industrial education problem resonates with so many, topping education conference keynotes and YouTube views? Could this be why dedicated, skilled teachers struggle in many schools; why many talented administrators find things harder than they need to be, and why so many students look for a way out or around, in a home school, a virtual school or just another school?

    • Renewal Ahead for Delaware River, Newest Site of Urban Waters ...

      Renewal Ahead for Delaware River, Newest Site of Urban Waters ...

    • The global mismatch between required and available skills is arguably due to an education system which, to some extent, prepares students for elements of the past century rather than the requirements of the new, though now not so new, century.

      Many schools are still in the industrial AKA clerical mode, even with hyped ’1 to 1′ programs and interactive white boards. With all the latest widgets and shiny things, students can continue to merely follow instructions, answer questions and receive grades, rather than make plans, ask questions, and evaluate outcomes – the latter set being a key to resilience, enterprise and creativity, demands in the modern economy.

    • Why do most schools still look exactly as they did in 1950? Why do the design of schools and prisons have so much in common? It's time to replace the "cells and bells" schools of the past with a modern, student-centered version. One that will better prepare students with the skills and competencies needed for success in the 21st century.

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    • old new classroom

      old new classroom

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    • While many education systems struggle to move further than replacing print with digital, new places of learning are emerging where enterprise and creativity are not just encouraged, they are cultivated and expected. Some of these sorts of schools have long existed, they were just not widely distributed.

      What do you think a 21st Century school should be like? What does the approach to learning and teaching look like at these schools?

      How is this learning approach reflected in a 'renewed' physical learning space, and in online spaces?

      How can technology support or enable that approach?

    • Learning Spaces | The IDEA Blog

      Learning Spaces | The IDEA Blog

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