We are advocates for innovations in learning. We believe access to a high-quality education is the best shot young people have at shaping, contributing to and ultimately benefiting from a better future.
The future is here–it’s just not evenly distributed. There are hundreds of next-generation schools (see our lists of elementary and secondary schools worth visiting) that offer deeper learning experiences and tens of thousands of schools that are already well on their journey. And these new learning environments are also more supporting and more interesting places for teachers to work and grow.
Teachers and students deserve deeper learning experiences (be they project-based, place-based or blended) that push them to develop critical thinking and 21st-century skills, to master academic content, learn how to learn, communicate effectively, work collaboratively and develop academic mindsets.
We help EdLeaders craft the path forward–a vision for what students need and a picture of the experiences and environments that will help them get there.
Getting Smart Services helps organizations form and advance big ideas. We:
- Build thought leadership campaigns that shape the memes that leaders and learners discuss at conferences and water coolers. We engage experts and practitioners and produce podcasts, blogs, graphics, videos and publications around a theme.
- Shape strategies that scale big ideas;
- Provide insightful research to foundations and companies–big ones like Microsoft and small ones (like your next big idea);
- Design and facilitate professional learning experiences that change hearts and minds. Our design sessions are powerful, our school visits are inspiring, our coaching is personalized.
While we are advocates for many advances in teaching and learning, as of late we have been really focusing on supporting work and organizations in the following three areas:
Too many students lose interest in school because it isn’t relevant or doesn’t meet them where they are academically or socially and emotionally. Each student ought to spend a significant part of their school day, be it individually or in collaborative groups, working on skills specific to their own learning path, choosing how they work and even what they work on. We believe personalized learning creates the opportunity for each student to reach their fullest potential and that great educators are at the helm of creating the future of learning.
High-quality teachers and school leaders have the potential to make the most difference. We are advocates for providing the opportunity for high-quality educators to ideate and implement innovative teaching practices that engage students in more personalized learning.
Examples of our work:
- Collaborated with the Buck Institute and New Tech Network to support campaigns and publications on project-based learning and personalized learning
- Supported iNACOL and CompetencyWorks on promoting and researching competency-based learning
- Worked with the Teton Science Schools to advocate for place-based learning
- Investigated data interoperability along with the Project Unicorn team
- Researched personalized learning platforms to help interested educators and leaders looking to transform teaching and learning in their classroom or schools
Rethinking Systems, Spaces and Supports
In order to support each of these innovations in teaching and learning, technology, tools, resources and support are needed. We know how important ecosystems are to support teachers and edupreneurs (see Smart Cities). We are advocates for rethinking systems, space and supports that best fit innovative teaching and learning practices, and meet the needs of the students that are being served.
Examples of our work:
- Supported learner experiences and conversations around next-gen learning systems and spaces at One Stone in Boise, Idaho
- Designed and led school tours with Kansas City community members and educators as part of the Kauffman Foundation’s #KCGreatSchools effort to rethink what great teaching and learning ecosystems and spaces look like
- Helped facilitate the update of the El Paso Independent School District’s strategic plan.
- Visited and have written about learning spaces around the world that work well for 21st-century learners and support educators interested in using deeper learning practices
Equity and Access
Above all else, we are advocates for equity and access. All students deserve a world-class class education with access to high-quality teachers, learning environments and tools. We believe that strong communities and parental support, and the development of strong educational ecosystems designed for innovative schools and next-generation ideas, help support equity and access.
Examples of our work:
- Worked with the Vulcan Foundation to showcase 25 Impact Opportunities In U.S. K-12 Education
- Interviewed five thought leaders dedicated to creating more equitable opportunities for students to access high-quality language learning
- In partnership with the Walton Family Foundation, we researched and published 100 Tips for Opening Great New Schools that support equity and access for all learners
- Partnered with many school districts to help them rethink budgets and student funding to be more equitable for all students
- ExcelinEd and Getting Smart worked together to explore pilots that have brought about more access to competency-based education for students in Utah, Florida and Idaho
For more, see:
- Design Coaching for Schools and Districts
- 10 Tips for Designing High Impact Campaigns
- Imaging the Future: How Innovative School Districts Are Looking Ahead
Stay in-the-know with all things EdTech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update. This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner. For a full list of partners, affiliate organizations and all other disclosures please see our Partner page.