Showing posts from 2020

Free Range Learning: More or Less Design?

On December 2, Tim O’Leary and I kicked off Creative Conversations, a monthly, hour-long exploration of the laws of learning described in Trust the Science: Using brain-based learning to update our educational OS . Thanks in part to the Bay & Paul Foundations and Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, these monthly Creative Conversations provide educators a lightly-facilitated space to share and gather their collective wisdom. After a brief primer , participants joined breakout groups to share related resources and pressing questions , before regrouping for a whip around of insights & wonders. Design Dilemma As we wrapped up our hour together, we admired the dilemma, and perhaps at times the absurdity, of trying to personalize learning within the institutional setting of school. Is systematized personalization possible? Someone playfully shared a chicken-raising analogy. How might we create schools committed to a greater degree of free range learning? Our seven yea

To B or not to B...Is that Really the Question?

A few years ago I visited my doctor for what I hoped would be a mid-life appraisal of my health. I should say “the doctors”, since several of them assessed different parts of me over the course of a couple months. A few weeks later, I got my grade in the mail: B-. Around that time I reached out to my financial advisor to check in on the plan we’d designed the year before. I wanted to learn how well my portfolio had been performing, so she sent me an average of the year’s performance: C+. These two anecdotes are true, except for the grade part, of course. When it comes to our health and our finances, we expect a whole lot more than a single letter to communicate what’s working and what needs work. And this is the purpose of proficiency-based grading: to convey to learners, their families, and others what a single grade cannot--the learners’ current level of performance with each of the specific performance criteria used to determine the grade. But the power of the single-lette