ON-Lion Letter
In Summer, the Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF) in Broomfield, Colo., gathered a diverse group of two dozen innovators and thinkers for a breakthrough retreat to consider visions for 21st Century learning.  The group met in Vail, Colo., and included educators, parents, policymakers, and youth advocates, as well as entrepreneurs, social-change agents, and futurists.  Tasked with addressing the ways in which learning and our understanding of it are changing for youth of the future, the group explored how education should transform as a result.

Consensus on one topic became clear:  while the world has changed, our schools have not.  Too many students drop out of high school, and too few graduates have the skills they need to succeed in college or obtain a decent job.  Designed more than a century ago, today’s education system is failing our children.

Everyone agreed on breaking away from preconceived notions of student, teacher and school, choosing instead to use such concepts as learners, guides, advisors, mentors, domain experts, and learning environments.  They also agreed on the potential of leveraging widely distributed technologies, such as cell phones and laptops, to disrupt old ways of learning.

In order to move beyond the conventional mass delivery of instruction, many proposed leveraging even more new technologies that support a customized approach focused on each learner’s needs and goals.  Virtual-learning fora, online coursework, e-books, multimedia, multi-user games, interactive forums, and social-networking sites can enhance each individual’s learning experience, they said.

A longer summary of the days' discussion is available online.  You can join the conversation begun at Vail at www.rebootlearning.org, an open forum and posting place, launching soon.

Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation substantially supports CSGF and supported the conference on 21st Century learning.
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