Deeper Learning Digest: The Shift to a Deeper Learning Approach

May 6, 2016
Alliance for Excellent Education

On Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog, Stephen Hamilton, dean of High Tech High Graduate School of Education, discusses college, career, and civic readiness, and “the case of the missing ‘C.’” Hamilton explains that when discussing these three C’s, the focus is typically on college readiness, and often the “career” portion is neglected. “This surely reflects the reality that most educators know more about college than careers,” he writes, “but it neglects those students, still the majority, who do not graduate from a four-year college, and it ignores those who were ready enough for college to graduate but then find themselves unemployed or underemployed.”

Hamilton explains that if career readiness is overlooked, “civic readiness is all but forgotten.” He notes the importance of “civic competence,” and ensuring that students understand how government works and democratic principles, and are prepared to be active members of a democratic society. He shares an example of one graduate student’s capstone project, where she involved her second-grade students in service-learning projects. “As a result of participating in these activities, students collaborated more and were more deeply engaged in the classroom and came to see themselves as ‘change makers’ in their predominantly low-income and Hispanic community.” Read the full article:

In the Huffington Post, Lydia Dobyns, president and CEO of New Tech Network, writes about a school district in California that is working towards deeper learning for all students. The district is shifting from traditional structures to implement student-centered innovative models, and specifically a project based instructional approach. In the post, the district’s superintendent offers several tips for other districts that are making a transition to deeper learning for all students, including to recognize that this shift can be more cultural than technical. She also emphasizes the importance of incorporating the voices of principals, teachers, and students into the development of new district practices. Check out the other tips:

What do schools put in place to ensure teachers are ready and well prepared to help their students meet the deeper learning competencies? Abner Oakes, director of outreach and strategic partnership on the standards, assessments, and deeper learning team at the Alliance, explores this issue in a recent blog post. Oakes looks at schools that are working to transform their teacher professional development to achieve deeper learning outcomes for teachers and students. Read more:

One Michigan school is working to transform learning to create a personalized, one-to-one learning experience. Though the Summit Basecamp learning program, the school is hoping to focus on mentorship, self-direction, goal setting, deeper learning, and community, reports the Clark Fork Valley Press/Mineral Independent. “This shift in learning is happening on a national level where students have more control over their education,” the article says. “The program is project-based, and more ‘hands-on’ rather than a teacher standing in front of a class.” Learn more about the program and how the school plans to shift:

Alliance president and former governor of West Virginia Bob Wise paid a visit to his home state to check out educational innovation and technology in action at Spring Mills High School. During his tour of the school, Wise visited classrooms and explored student projects, learning about electricity, robots, and even had the chance to fly a drone. The school has been selected to teach a new STEM program focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math, to prepare students for college or technical school. Wise saw students using problem solving and critical thinking skills, while working as teams on projects in these subject areas. The Herald-Mail has more on the visit.

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