Last year, the Shift was fortunate to experience the Deeper Learning Conference in San Diego. Ever since, we’ve been hard at work with various educators around the Halton District School Board to push our learning even further. Today, after a year of hard work, “try, fail, learn” and so many emotional ups and downs we are pleased to launch the next phase of The Shift.
Are you ready for Even Deeper Learning?
We had thought, with the expertise of our partners in the School Programs Department, that we had taken our learning as deep as it could go. But of course, after months of trying, failing and learning, we realize that we haven’t taken our work deep enough. As it was discussed in Ted Dintersmith’s film, Most Likely to Succeed, in order for students to investigate a subject with depth, one does sacrifice some breadth. This was made clear to us when we started working with Rotman and their I-Think Program. Last November, we were given the opportunity to expand on our understanding of Deeper Learning by using one of the I-Think tools. By using the Pro/Pro chart and the models of “Keeping Learning on the Surface” vs “Taking Learning Deeper” we were able to expand on our understanding of what Even Deeper Learning could be.
First, we were able to understand that, like people who are Innovative, those who can go deeper with their own learning have a very specific set of tools at their disposal. The Deepest Learners need to be able to break apart their misconceptions and fixed mental models with a pickaxe of knowledge. They must shovel away their own distractions as they excavate a path to new ideas. Finally, they need to illuminate their new understandings in order to shine their light on the ultimate student success goal with their headlamps of intuition.
With this new framework in mind, we realized that to drive student learning even deeper we needed to radically transform what our classrooms look like. If learning is to stay on the surface, so too should classrooms stay on the surface. But this isn’t how the deepest learning works. To experience Even Deeper Learning, we need to take the idea of the classroom and send it underground.
We will be mining our students for their knowledge as they explore new depths of understanding. What a better way to do this than to physically teach our students underground. Sunlight, a cool breeze, animals...these are all distractions to the Deepest of Learners. Halton’s newest underground school will strip away all of these distractions, except for one single Canary that will also act as the school's new mascot. Opening in the Fall of 2021, Excavation Public School, a 7-12 underground education campus, will boast the newest in Even Deeper Learning innovations.
Students will learn in some of the deepest classrooms of the world, using some of the deepest pedagogy of the 21st Century. Thinking Classrooms become Thinking Caverns. Design Thinking will make way to Design Digging. The I-Think Tools we’ve come to embrace will evolve into Pro/Spect charts, Tunnels of Inference and Causal Surveying. Failure is not an option at Excavation Public School because safety is our utmost concern and we aim to have a cave in free school year.
Finally, students will come to view their education as a network of tunnels to be traversed, rather than individual paths to be crossed. By linking together all subjects, students will truly experience the power of Even Deeper Learning. We are excited to be a part of this Shift in learning. Dig deep within yourselves, Shifters, do you have what it takes to excavate this new frontier in education? #digdeeper #ShiftUnderground #DeepestLearning