Learning Transformed #LT8Keys
It has been quite the ride since I changed my perspective on teaching, learning, and leadership eight years ago. Prior to 2009 I basically saw technology as just an add-on and something that could spruce up a lesson. An ironclad Internet filter was in place to “protect” students and ensure that none of them could go off task. Social media had to be blocked for all and I, for one, wasn’t going to waste any of my precious time using it professionally or personally. Learning spaces had to conform to the perceived rule of law in education. This meant desks had to be in orderly rows, mobile devices out of site, and common areas free of anything that could distract students from the task at hand – achievement on standardized tests. Professional development consisted of two mandated days where everything was basically dictated to staff based on district or school needs.
I could go on and on, but thankfully I had an epiphany and from 2009 on began to work with my staff and students to transform our school through innovative strategies. Thanks to social media and my Personal Learning Network (PLN), I began to embrace new ideas, think differently, and critically reflect on my professional practice to be a better leader. Successful and sustained change not only happened, but results followed. The work over those years put me into a position of authoring several books and sharing our successes across the United States and then the world.
Even though this was gratifying work there was still something missing that I could not put my finger on until early in 2016. It was at this time that I had one of the most thought-provoking conversations with my good friend, Tom Murray. As we discussed all facets of the current educational landscape, buzzwords, fads, opinions, and trends, we came to the realization that there was a need to bring everything together, align all the talk to research, and illustrate through a practitioner lens how to transform teaching, learning, and leadership. We pitched a book idea to ASCD that wouldn’t just tell educators what they should be doing, but more importantly show them how it could be done. The idea became a reality, helped me make more sense of where my journey was leading to and provided the opportunity to co-author a book with one of my best friends.
In Learning Transformed, Tom and I lay out 8 keys to drive needed change now. We focus deeply on the why, but go to great lengths to detail the how. Research underpins each key to provide greater rationale and substance for the ideas presented. This is followed by what we call Innovative Practices in Action (IPA) that brings purpose and clarity so that all educators and schools can begin to implement these strategies to usher in transformative change. The 8 keys are outlined below:
- Leadership and school culture lay the foundation.
- The learning experience must be redesigned and made personal.
- Decisions must be grounded in evidence and driven by a Return on Instruction (ROI).
- Learning spaces must become learner-centered.
- Professional learning must be relevant, engaging, ongoing, and made personal.
- Technology must be leveraged and used as an accelerant for student learning.
- Community collaboration and engagement must be woven into the fabric of a school’s culture.
- Schools that transform learning are built to last as financial, political, and pedagogical sustainability ensures long-term success.
Toward the end of each chapter, you’ll hear from some of the best educational minds working in schools today. These educators are breaking through barriers, overcoming obstacles, and helping families break the chains of poverty, all while providing dynamic learning opportunities for all students by fundamentally redesigning the educational landscape in their districts. These vignettes, shared as Innovative Practices in Action and written by the school leaders themselves, relate success stories from districts large and small, from urban to rural, and from some of the most economically challenged communities. Each of these school leaders has intentionally designed his or her way to amazing student success where learning has been transformed.
During the writing process, Tom and I spent a great deal of time reflecting on our practice and that of countless educators we are blessed to work with around the world. To that end we created an extensive study guide to go along with the book. For each chapter we have created numerous questions to facilitate critical reflection on professional practice and the learning culture that is currently in place. Our hope is to take readers on a much deeper journey on how these 8 keys can be successfully implemented and embedded in a school or district culture. It is also our hope that readers will extend the conversation to Twitter using #LT8Keys as both Tom and I are eager to engage with all of you.
We can no longer wait. Time is of the essence. It is our obligation to prepare our students for their future and not our past. We must create and lead schools that are relevant for the world our students live in—not the world we, or our staff, grew up in. We must do this . . . starting today.
"Given how quickly and profoundly the world is changing, there are few more urgent challenges than the transformation of our schools and education systems. Some people are still unconvinced of the need for this transformation: others are unsure how to make it happen. Learning Transformed is addressed to all of them and to every other educator, administrator, and policymaker with a serious concern for the future of our children and our communities. It draws on the best research about the need for change and on the strategies that work and those that don't. More than that, it's seasoned throughout with deep, real-world experience of teaching and learning, policy and practice in innovative schools and pioneering districts across the nation. Learning Transformed is both a compelling manifesto for the schools our children need now and an inspirational blueprint for how to bring them about." - Sir Ken Robinson
It is our hope the this book will inspire all of you like it did for Tom and I when we were writing it. We are honored and humbled to have endorsements from Sir Ken Robinson, Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond, Robert Marzano, Michael Fullan, Dan Pink, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs, Andy Hargreaves, Todd Whitaker, and so many more education luminaries. Order your copy today and join us in a quest to transform learning across the world.