July 20, 2007

Sustaining Change with Christian Long and Chris Lehman

Chris_christian Chris Lehman is a guy in his mid-thirties who is principal/Head Teacher of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Christian Long has been CEO of DesignShare, and helped Chris create this new school in less than a year.

The needs analysis from Chris, the new principal of a school which didn't exist yet, had to take place in only 72 hours before building started. The key element of the design would be that every architectural space became a secondary learning space, from the café (not the cafeteria) to the gap in the roof where a stairwell should have gone.

What does learning look like?
Inquiry-driven, project-based and empowering for all members - every kid produces something different in a project, not 30 identical projects.

  • Inquiry, Research, Collaboration, Presentation and Reflection are the guiding principles of this framework
  • That's very similar to the 'Four Ps' that Marco Torres' students use when creating films:
    Planning, Preparation, Presentation, Pheedback ;-)
  • Technology, similarly, must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate, again, just like film has enabled and empowered Torres' students.

Do we need to start education afresh? Is School 2.0 just a myth?
Learning might look different in these schools which are rebuilt, but it's not the build that necessarily makes the difference to learning, although it helps make it quicker, perhaps. You can rebuild a school without touching a brick. It's vital that, after a conference like this, one does not try to replicate the Philly or the Marco Torres effect in a copy and paste fashion.

You don't need a new building to create a new school or a new classroom, of course. But the same goes for building new (global) models of education, monoliths dedicated to starting afresh, building a new education system from the foundations up. School 2.0 and Classroom 2.0 do not exist, in this blogger's head at least. My classroom and your classroom, my school and your school do exist and it is on our own cultural foundations that we must build. What I've found, though, this week is that a large number of educators don't know where their education system foundations lie. Without these foundations teachers can only flail about looking for traction for future ideas.

It's vital that we look towards what we can learn and adapt to our own situations and that we get the 'top' educated and understanding why the teachers and students in the frontline want and need certain things - like Skypecasts for lessons for parents to follow lessons, too, from afar. Is this a risky business? Well, what's the worst thing that can happen with your best idea?

If you have an idea to share on how we sustain change in education, technologically, in school buildings, above all, in teaching and learning, then please do go and add your tuppence worth to the SustainChange Presentation wiki.


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"You don't need a new building to create a new school or a new classroom"

You have interesting concept. Education has been on a decline recently

Well, what's the worst thing that can happen with your best idea? reminds me of Seneca

And Seneca could certainly contribute to these blog post ideas - I fancy he would say It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

Geetha Narayanan's implementation of her dangerous and powerful idea suggests that we don't even need school to make our best educational ideas happen

Ewan, I can see myself agreeing to some extent with JoeB - are we getting to the point where 'the school of the future' doesn't actually need to have walls at all! We are so fixed to the Victorian Model of teaching - much as we dress it up in modern clothes (and IWB's)and Open Work areas. The coming Foundation Phase in KS1 teaching involving using the outside is already breaking these boundaries and I can foresee that Foundation Phase as it rolls into KS2 will have to involve an element of a School Without Walls or Not School ( S Heppell)- or is the end of the school year affecting my thinking processes?

Just following up on the discussion at http://jakespeak.blogspot.com/2007/07/sustaining-change-with-chris-lehmann.html ... it seems to me that this would be really valuable information,offering insights, to the groups in England vested with the 'Building Schools for the Future' projects

Ewan, enjoyed meeting you and talking with you Thursday morning at coffee at BLC07. At the time you asked about US myths about education and I mentioned the "flat world" myth that nearly every technologist has bought into.

Also mentioned a book but couldn't recall the author's name. It is "The Collapse of Globalism: And the Reinvention of the World" by John Ralston Saul (Hardcover - Sep 22, 2005)Its a terrific read as a counterpoint to Friedman.

I think that many of our (US) education myths are derived from our culture at large. The "self-made man," is one, as is the "rugged individualist." Of course there is the "American dream" where everyone who works hard can be successful. These play out in many ways both in education and the larger culture.

Your blog does a terrific job of effectively conveying the essence of the presentations and the keynotes. Great photos, too.


Thanks, Tom, for those titles and for your take on the American Myths - I'm so glad to have finally found some! Maybe we could do a double act next year exploring some of those and how they affect the way we adopt (or don't adopt) social media?

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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