By Greg Hasiuk, MAA, SAA, MRAIC, LEED®AP
Practice Leader, Number TEN Architectural Group
I was recently at the 87th Council of Educational Facility Planners International Conference in San Jose California.
Notable keynotes speakers were Robert Scoble and Tom Friedman (http://www.cefpiworldconference.org/speakers.php#Naked).
The theme was “Learning in a Flat World”. It was inspiring! Here are some of my notes:
Facts no longer need to be learned. Concepts and connections do.
Information no longer needs to be found. It finds you.
The internet allows the gathering of the world’s knowledge.
Social Networks allow the gathering of the world’s people.
Collaborative problem solving is now possible with people from around the world, in real time.
To flourish, you will have to generate your own content. Share it. Post it. Let the world come to you.
Your smart cell phone can give you instant access to all of this. Now.
Social Media. Not just a way to find out what Ashton Kutcher had for lunch anymore. People are now “following” thousands of others in their areas of interest and categorizing them into areas of expertise. When doing research, or when an answer is needed, you can simply put the question out to your “tribe” of experts. Rather than Google the question and mine static data on the internet, you can ask the question on Twitter and get “real time” responses with references to material and expertise. This new instant access to many minds will become a powerful tool.
The Individual. Thomas Friedman put forward that nations were the ones who first used their wealth and power to expand their global reach across the world (eg. England, Spain, France etc.) As global economies grew and matured, corporations where able to use their ever growing resources to become global players (eg. Coke, Microsoft, McDonalds etc.) However, the modern PC coupled with the high speed internet explosion has empowered the individual to become the new driver of expanded global reach. The individual now has the tools to compete with nations and corporations for the hearts, minds and economies of the world. Our schools must evolve to acknowledge this new individual power. Ever evolving new tools allow these creative individuals to collaborate in groups and form powerful “open source” knowledge and resources.
Mass customization. 21st century learning requires each student to develop their particular talent using their particular learning modality (i.e. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic etc.). 21st century learning involves:
1. Student centered
2. Working in teams on long complex tasks
3. Accountability (to peers – in class and on-line)
4. Active Learning (real life projects – real world)
5. Dynamic Information (more than one source – internet based)
There were also some terrific local project tours.
A highlight for many was meeting an inspired principal and an inspiring parent from Washington Elementary, a school located at the crossroads of three rival gangs. She described to us how the newly renovated Library in the heart of the school has become “a home, a blanket, and a ladder” in their community, a place that both invites and insulates evening groups each day of the week from the instability outside the school. At the centre of the Library is an open, flexible space that forms a comfortable sanctuary used for a multitude of student learning, adult education and school functions. The decision was made not to install a security system for the library, so books sometimes get taken and not returned; but as one educator asked, “would it be so bad to live in a world where more books were stolen from the school library?”