On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast, we have a powerhouse panel of edleaders to discuss the future of learning. Today you’ll hear from Dr. Pamela Moran, Byron Sanders and Ed Hess, here’s a little bit of background about each of them:

Dr. Pamela Moran is recognized internally as a leading advocate for contemporary education. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Virginia School Consortium for Learning and routinely consults with higher education, non-profits, and school districts.

Byron Sanders is the President and CEO of Big Thought; an organization that serves 150,000 students at more than 400 locations with creative enrichment. Their work is about closing the opportunity gap and building agency, hope, and creativity.

Ed Hess has spent more than 20 years in the business world as a Senior Executive at Warburg Paribas Becker, Boettcher & Company: Robert M. Bass Group, and Jones Lang Wooten. He’s the author of 13 books, over 150 practitioner articles, and over 60 Darden cases dealing with innovation, learning cultures, and system processes.

Ed’s new book Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change suggests that for humans to stay relevant in the workplace, we have to be able to excel cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally in ways that technology can’t.

Join in the conversation as Tom speaks with his esteemed guests about the invention opportunities in learning, the future of the American high school, and the kinds of learning experiences that are really going to benefit students. This is a deep and powerful conversation with tons of key takeaways, important lessons, and insightful wisdom that you won’t want to miss out on!

This podcast ranges from Ed Hess addressing the importance of “the ability to go into the unknown and figure it out,” all the way to the a reassessment of what is valuable: “We have not properly attributed the actual value people have been bringing. […] too many of the things we’ve said are ‘nice’ have always been critical.”

The future will boast an emphasis on service skills (anything relating/connecting to human beings), novelty and exploration, getting rid of otherness, expanding the age range of learners, and increasing our proclivity for teaching creativity. “We need to be preparing creators.”

Some of the core teachings in the next phase of learning will be: 

  • SEL
  • Design Thinking
  • Digital Literacy
  • Creative/Academic Foundations

Pam Moran strongly believes in reimagining high school. “First and foremost I would throw out the title ‘high school’ […] it is not just the building, it’s the whole day […] I would get rid of time as the singular control of children 14-18.” Byron also advocated for letting learners be more in control of their future at the high school level, “we have to stop asking kids what they want to be when they grow up and ignoring what they offer right now.” Tom previously had written a blog on trying to pin down what these new learning goals would be in 2016.

And all members of the group agreed on the importance of centering oneself to be the best learner you can be. Pam said, “people have to learn to quiet their egos. High school creates people either with big egos or with damaged egos.” Ed followed suit with: “the foundation to hyper learning is inner-peace.”

As part of our invention opportunity series, we are continuing to ask questions around new learner goals, new formats and new learning experiences. This conversation digs deep into each of those categories and proposes a brighter future.

Key Takeaways:

[:10] About today’s episode with Pam Moran, Ed Hess, and Byron Sanders.
[1:18] Tom welcomes his panel of guests to the podcast!
[1:44] Ed Hess’s book, Hyper-Learning, suggests that we should learn to do stuff that computers are not very good at (i.e. excel cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally in ways that technology cannot). Ed elaborates more on this and how it sets the stage for the future of education.
[7:53] Byron’s thoughts on we should redefine the purpose of, and goals of, high school.
[11:50] Pam shares her insights on how she sees the redefining of the goals and purpose of high school, and whether or not Portrait of a Graduate is a good step in the right direction.
[17:35] Tom’s new book, Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, shares the radical proposition that high school should be a place where you figure out who you are, what you’re good at, what you care about, where/how you’re going to make a difference in the world, and that difference-making is the new superpower. Does Ed see this as part of the new core purpose of high school?
[19:58] The kinds of learning experiences that Byron sees as really benefiting high school students.
[24:20] Pam shares what kinds of learning experiences she sees as benefiting high school students.
[25:15] Pam proposes a question for the panel: “What would need to change if what we wanted to do was to move towards kids who understand the concept of ‘quiet egos’ and why that is an important disposition to have success in life?”
[27:02] Ed shares a prediction on how he sees the future of classrooms within high schools.
[29:12] Tom proposes that making an advisory structure and relationships central in both the secondary and post-secondary experience is part of the answer. Ed also shares his thoughts on this.
[31:00] Byron answers Pam’s question.
[32:12] Byron elaborates on the stakes and challenges that we’re really facing in trying to redefine high school.
[33:42] In response to this inequity problem, some would say the answer would be to double down on the current inherited system that is not working for high school students. What is Byron’s response to this?
[36:41] Ed shares his thoughts on what he sees as being at stake as we redefine these inherited systems.
[38:51] Pam shares her own thoughts and insights on the topic of what we need to be cautious of as we redefine high school.
[42:18] Byron shares his thoughts on how we could reorganize the high school experience in a more community-connected way.
[49:56] Pam asks Ed for his insights on what it would take to actually start to create an environment for teenagers that doesn’t look like anything that we have right now.
[53:23] Tom wraps up the podcast and gives his thanks to Pam, Ed, and Byron for sharing their insights and wisdom.

Mentioned in This Episode:

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