Guide to the Future: Our Lessons from the EDU DeLorean
From how neuroscience and EdTech intersect, to how kindness is key for creating the next generation of leaders, there’s lots to catch up on from our back to school conference, Guide to the Future of Education: Lessons from the EDU Time Machine. Here’s some key takeaways from our time travel quest…
A Glimpse into the Future of Education
At the heart of our conference was Jeff Borden's keynote. Dr. Borden is currently the Dean of the School of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University and is a lifelong advocate for effective eLearning through his award winning "learning ecosystem" creation, brain-based education strategies.
Borden’s session was a great way to close out the first day of the conference, exploring how neuroscience, learning research and EdTech could lead to a new and exciting phase in education called ‘Education 3.0’.
Our three stand out points from this session were:
- Mix up lessons with ‘learning cocktails’ - Jeff’s concept demonstrated the positive impact it has on brain chemicals when different educational methods are combined to make learning more engaging and understandable for learners.
- 45% of high school learners say they experience stress every day - With a shared goal to reduce learner stress by shifting the way lessons are taught we can create environments that support learner growth.
- Memory games proved how effective memorizing images was over text. Showing how little learners can recall from spoken words or lectures.
Empowering Neurodivergent Learning
Our friend @TheNerdyTeacher, or Nicholas Provenzano, held an eye opening session on "Empowering Neurodivergent Learning: Classroom Strategies to Start Using Now". Nicholas is a Teacher, mental health advocate and Makerspace Director at University Liggett School in Michigan. He also writes on his website, TheNerdyTeacher.com, Edutopia.org, as well as many other prominent educational websites.
Here’s the most impactful advice we got from Nicholas during the session, that you can try today:
- Create regular routines - neurodivergent learners often find change and transitions difficult to cope with. Routines help reduce stress and create comfort and control.
- Craft sensory-friendly surroundings - Sensory activities can be effective learning tools that engage all areas of a learner’s brain, helping them with their cognitive, emotional, physical, social, and communication development. Sensory activities can also be calming and motivating for neurodivergent learners, helping their development.
- Encourage movement - If a learner can’t settle their body, they will not be able to focus in class. Set some time aside in the lesson to encourage everyone to get up and move about to release that energy and help learners re-focus. Wobble chairs, exercise balls or fidget toys will help keep their bodies busy too and help them stay focused.
- Implement effective behavior management systems - This isn’t just about punishing unwanted behaviors or rewarding desirable behaviors. It’s how an adult manages a child’s behavior by having strategies in place to support learners to behave in ways that help them gain the most from their daily lives. This helps learners form positive relationships with others, manage their feelings and behaviors, prepare them for change and build blocks for success through consistency.
- Offering continuous, positive reinforcement - Instead of focusing on correcting behaviors or deficits, educators should actively acknowledge the efforts and achievements of neurodiverse learners. Recognizing their strengths and celebrating their successes helps foster a positive self-image and encourages continued growth.
Inspiration from Emerging Voices
The session that had the most moving impact (we were in tears) was from Orion Jean on, "What My Generation Needs From You". The inspiring 12-year-old, shared his insights on leadership and kindness that resonated with everyone watching. He also Introduced his K.I.N.D. framework: Keep your eyes open, Include others, Nothing is too Small, Do something about it.
Orion's session served as a reminder of the importance of nurturing young minds, amplifying their voices and fostering their potential to shape the future by their brilliance. But it was also a reminder that we should all strive to be more kind and empathetic in our daily lives going forward.
Make Lessons ACTIVE
Dr. Tolulope (Tolu) Noah explored how the acronym, ACTIVE, can help you design engaging and enriching learning experiences. Giving practical strategies that you can immediately implement, like:
- ACTIVATE prior knowledge to help learners review what they already know and engages them in critical thinking about the topic.
- Provide learners with opportunities to COLLABORATE with each other
- Help learners THINK about the content in a structured way that supports UDL
- Give learners time to IMPLEMENT what they are learning
- Create opportunities for learnings to VENTURE out on their own
- Allow learners to EXPRESS what they have learned in different ways
As I'm sure you can tell, from just this snapshot, this was a very engaging session with audience participation playing a key part of it. So, we recommend that you stop by this session to get the full experience to take back to your learners.
The MTSS Movement
Dr Tessie Bailey’s session, “Shaping the Future of MTSS: Lessons from 20 years of Implementation” highlighted that the Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) movement is changing from an intervention service to a much broader, school wide framework. Nationwide MTSS initiatives are even evolving into federal departments. Moving beyond small pockets of improvement like literacy and comprehension into math and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) too, with the majority of states using it.
Some key takeaways from Dr. Bailey’s session centered around the fact that just because your school says it’s using MTSS, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for your learners. Here’s her top tips on how to see learner success with MTSS:
- MTSS won’t save the world, it’s what we do with it that will
- Be realistic and practical about the tools we use - use the FAIR test
- No single practice works for everyone - it has to be about context, capacity and the needs specific to your school
- High levels of implementation from all stakeholders is the only way to see those positive effects
- Infrastructure is essential
- Language matters - focus on defining the practices, rather than the acronyms
- Implementation takes time - be patient and consistent
- Only 20% of schools across the country are successfully implementing at a sustained level - everyone needs to be on board for MTSS to be long a term successful strategy.
Find your path to the Future of Education
Ready to discover lessons from the time machine for yourself? Hop in to the Texthelp DeLorean to find your own path to the future of education. Here’s a few stops we recommend you make on your quest:
- Evolving with Gratitude: Nurture Relationships, Improve Well-Being, and Activate Learning
- Keynote 1: Neuroscience + Learning Research + Ed Tech = Education 3.0
- Engaging Learners with ACTIVE Learning Strategies
- Mathematics Education in a Digital World
- Keynote 2: What My Generation Needs From You