You could feel the room was less animated as this, the third of three challenging and provocative presentations, proceeded; saturation was setting in, and this was no fault of presenter Michael Horn’s.   This session did offer powerful analysis of the power of trends and the significance of the ongoing technological wave surfing over education, though Michael was more subdued as a speaker than his two predecessors.   His talk was also less directly centered on applicable take-aways to today’s classrooms than that of Jacobs and Bassett, but nonetheless offered very important prophecy and analysis.

I should add: motivation matters enormously, and I appreciate very much his attention to this;  it shows a deep caring for kids and their experience of our schools, and urges us to use always this as a foundation for our planning.

Horn’s both predicting and evangelizing for a digital revolution in our schools, but that is not to say his values are somehow technocratic.   It is because he recognizes all learners crave and benefit from feedback, that all learners desire to be more interactive with other learners, that all learners do best when they can track their progress and derive real satisfaction from their learning, that he believes the digital revolution will and should occur: because technology serves these humane and humanistic goals for learning brilliantly when blended with the best of classroom learning.

Resources, Links, Key Ideas

My previous posts on Michael Horn:

“We really have to understand what turns students on and fires them up.   This question of motivation is a problematic one.  Noone has cracked it at scale.”

Hiring a Milkshake: a simple explanatory post.

What jobs are students trying to do?

  • They want to be successful and make progress.
  • They want to have fun with their friends.

Project Based Learning very valuably allows students to make progress and feel satisfied.

Digital Learning offers more feedback and provides more sense of progress to students.

Unfortunately, instruction is too typically uncoupled from activities in which students can feel success.

Frequent assessments is a robust way to improve student motivation and learning.

Technology improves faster than our ability to use those improvements.

Resources for the Flipped Classroom

Blended Learning requires putting the student in the center of learning with some degree of control.

Conspiracy Code Florida Virtual School

Competency Based learning

Jennifer Lockett’s blog post about the talk

Action Items

Invite your students into focus groups and ask: what are you hiring school to do for you?

Take one step to increase the amount of feedback you offer and provide more feedback loop opportunities, where students can use your feedback to improve their performance.

Experiment with Flipped Teaching and evaluate its utility.

Implement opportunities for students to learn at their own pace.

Explore Khan Academy and other online, self-paced, free and low-cost learning programs by which students can work at their own pace along with doing your classroom learning, and work to synthesize.

Conversation Starters

What are students “hiring” us for?

Why do students come to school every day?

How often are your students receiving meaningful feedback?

How often do you give feedback in loops, where students can take feedback and act on it toward mastery?

What if we reversed fixed time, variable learning, to fixed learning, variable time?  What would that look like at our school?

Visitors to the blog: Please use the comment option to offer your own resources, action items, or discussion questions.