Educause NGLC project helps schools, districts rethink approaches amid societal changes
- Educause's Next Generation Learning Challenges developed the MyWays project to help school and district leaders confront changes they need to make in response to a rapidly changing career field and higher ed market.
- Writing for EdSurge, NGLC Director Andrew Calkins says that the project provides research and tools in light of essential questions administrators should be asking around the realities and changes schools must address, defining what success is in light of economic and societal changes, how learning design and school organization can support that, and how student progress is measured along those lines.
- Calkins also clarifies that the MyWays project isn't intended to simply provide a checklist and that reflection and adaptation are required of schools and districts using best practices, which were developed from the study of "breakthrough" schools created or adapted using $45 million in next-gen investments from NGLC.
The last several years have seen a push toward the next generation of schooling, sometimes referred to as "School 2.0." Economic shifts have necessitated such an effort, as the prevailing model of public education over the past century-plus was designed to prepare the majority of students for factory work. With those jobs largely falling by the wayside due to factors like automation and jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields on the rise, the K-12 education system has had to rethink its approach — especially with many high-demand jobs embracing a more collaborative environment requiring a greater deal of soft skills like critical thinking.
Where they can, colleges and universities should work with K-12 on these efforts. Positioned in a role much closer to many employers in these fields, and also needing to confront its own connected issues around remediation and completion rates, higher ed has an opportunity to help schools and districts rethink the skills today's students need in order to be college-and-career-ready — and to ensure that they are fully prepared prior to arriving on campus. Cooperation between higher ed institutions and local K-12 schools and districts is already helping at-risk students trace a pathway to college. Closer partnerships can only further benefit all involved, especially if free tuition plans like New York's gain steam and essentially create a public K-16 system.
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