Learning Manifesto

By Autumn Riley

I believe that schools should not continue function the way they "always have".

Education cannot be stagnant.


As an industry, education, must evolve to meet learners where they are and to prepare them for the actual world they will live in.


America is not the same place as it once was. Educators and stakeholders need to ask the question, “What world are we preparing students for?”


Because knowledge is available 24 hours a day, teachers are no longer the sole keepers of information. Teachers should be facilitators, coaches, and guides to authentic and organic learning experiences for students.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

I believe that educators have to find a way to unlock the "WHY" behind the "WHAT" for learners.

Educators need to find a way to turn on the FUN for learners. Educators have to bring the excitement and the "SO WHAT" factor to the education system.


As teachers and leaders, we have to find something to push learners from the APATHETIC to the AUTHENTIC.


By providing learners with real world opportunities to situate and contextualize learning, educators can unlock the novelty and product focus that real organic learning requires.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

I believe educators should invoke an "Innovative Injunction" to avoid “the ways things have always been done” for the sake of simplicity.

Let's stop furthering the myth that all young learners are proficient (or even excel) at technology of all kinds and all varieties, and let us reevaluate the misplaced belief that navigating a smart phone somehow indicates a student’s ability to create and innovate. Instead let educators create real opportunities for learners to encounter technology devices, apps, and programs.

"The challenge to develop new paradigms or models for teaching and learning reinforces the need to go beyond our current ways of thinking, to challenge convention and consider more radical perspectives" (Sims, 2008, p. 158).

I believe that schools have a responsibility to produce fully-functioning, self-sufficient digital citizens who will strive to do more and do better than the generation before them. Educators and lobbyists have to work with stakeholders and state legislature to reevaluate the status quo, to begin to question current accountability systems, and to begin to push the boundaries.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

I am passionate about teaching students to live life with an optimistic outlook and a positive attitude by modeling both.

School should be a safe space where learners of all ages can have fun and grow to know their own unique voice and perspective on the world. Educators and learners should be the captains of a positive environment that lends itself to safe risk-taking and "fail forward" thinking. Teachers should be required to teach students with a "yet" mentality. Learning should have be "collaborative, contextual, and connected" (Sims, 2008, p. 162).


_____________________________________________________________________________________________


"Collaborative in that learners and teachers can engage in meaningful interactions that are dynamic and emergent. Contextual in that individual learners can focus on their own needs in their own situation as well as taking responsibility for contributing content relevant to those needs. Connected in that learners and teachers need not be constrained to the one classroom – there are many learning spaces and many willing to participate in those spaces" (Sims, 2008, p. 162).


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

BUT ABOVE ALL OTHER THINGS, I BELIEVE IN AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH STUDENTS.

Educators are not solely in the field to teach students academics, and I believe that the best practice to engaging and encouraging learners is to develop a real relationship with them as human beings first. Educators have a responsibility to teach learners life long skills that go beyond the confines of the curriculum. Educators should equip students with the tools to navigate the technology, but lesson design should never begin with technology in mind. Instead, educators should know students and allow for choice to demonstrate evidence of learning so that the process of learning is more organic and real for students.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

References


Sims, R. (2008). Rethinking (e)learning: a manifesto for connected generations. Distance Education, 29(2), 153-164.