A Toolkit for Next Generation Schools

A Toolkit for Next Generation Schools

Questions and resources to help imagine and implement the schools of the future

By Tony Wan     Jun 24, 2013

A Toolkit for Next Generation Schools

Entrepreneurial educators from San Francisco to Orlando--and beyond--are thinking about ways to re-imagine the classroom. So it's delightful timing that Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), in collaboration with iNACOL, just published a toolkit to help this next wave of school innovators. The report, "RETHINK: Planning and Designing for K-12 Next Generation Learning" is chock full of useful insights and tips to help district, charter and school leaders to research, plan and design the schools of the future.

So often we hear about "next-gen" learning and schools, but what does that really mean? According to this report, it has three components: student personalization, competency-based, and blended in the sense that teachers and technology work together. Based on this, the authors offer guiding questions and follow-up resources for:

  • setting goals and defining student success;
  • planning and implementation issues around academic, finance, staffing, and tech infrastructure;
  • engaging the professional learning community and local stakeholders

The report may have more questions than answers, but that's the intent. "Rather than offering a prescriptive model to follow, the toolkit organizes the most helpful publications, website, and tools available today," says Andrew Calkins, Deputy Director of NGLC. He hopes that this will save school designers and admins "literally months of effort, research and planning and help them develop a significantly improved change process and collective vision for next-gen learning."

And whatever these adventurous school pioneers may try, it's a safe bet they're counting on technology will play a significant role. On this note, a fitting complementary reading may be this report from Digital Promise and IDEO, "Evolving Ed-Tech Procurement in School Districts," designed to help tackle that thorny "how to buy?" question. (Here's our summary.)

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