School’s Out: What If Schools, As We Know Them, Didn’t Exist?

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Take a moment to imagine how much school and learning might change only two to three years from now. How might families be more involved in the learning design? Should the entire community be responsible for the learning of young people? Would the role parents play shift? How is technology expanding the possibilities of learning? Ultimately, what opportunities are right in front of us today and what new thinking must we involve ourselves in to take advantage? Participants from Education Reimagined’s national community of learner-centered practitioners has released a new paper, School’s Out, which helps us imagine this very scenario beginning with an intriguing question: What if school didn’t exist?

The School’s Out paper is the result of thinking from five educators, spanning the country from California to Virginia, who came together to “explore how profoundly we need to alter our perspective on the meaning, feel, and delivery of learning.” These educators examined what it would look like to design an education system that provided a truly learner-centered and learner-driven experience. In addition, they each reflected upon their own views and professional experiences for a series of articles that greater explore the paper’s themes:

In this reimagined future, the School’s Out paper explores two journeys: Marco, a young learner who designs his own learning based on his passions, and Denise, an educator who belongs to an educator collaborative where she designs and markets her learning experiences based on her unique skill set and interest areas.

Marco’s day-to-day varies, but there is self-led instruction, internships, and check-ins with his mentor to help guide and support his learning journey. He is connected to his community and the businesses in his area, which opens doors for him to participate in experiences that will prepare him best for work and life that matches his interests and passions.

Denise functions as a facilitator and mentor and helps her learners discover their passions—making connections to both community and businesses along the way to enhance the learning experience. This vision of learning becomes truly individualized for both learner and educator.

The vignettes provided by the School’s Out authors features two distinct viewpoints and what this future society would make possible for young learners and educators:

Courtesy of Education Reimagined

Education Reimagined and the paper authors hope that School’s Out will spark a larger conversation about what the future of learning can and should look like. This is an “invitation for education leaders and their communities to explore an idea that wasn’t “too crazy to take seriously,” but also pushed everyone’s thinking beyond what is known today.” The paper even includes worksheets to help you facilitate conversations within your own network.

We also invite you to explore what you think the future of schools would look like for students, educators, parents, and the larger community. Share your thoughts in the comments below or on social media using #SchoolsOut.

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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