One of the goals of the Government's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme is to transform education. But when the Education Select Committee report was published earlier this month, one of their observations was that there is no common vision about what 'transformed education' looks like:
"The crucial question here...is what do we want education to be in the 21st century? A clear statement of the national ambitions for 21st century education could help to provide guidance and challenge to the local decision-making process."
And they went on to say that too often BSF projects are rushed through without sufficient consultation with head teachers and staff in schools:
"There is a very strong argument that the initial ‘visioning’ phase should be lengthened"
All of which reminded me to write a little about some of the work that we have been doing in the BSF programme, working with local authorities, head teachers and other stakeholders in the education system. We have been working to help create tools that can be used to build a common vision of 'transformed education' - providing models for groups to create a vision of the future - and guidance for what may be possible in the future. I could write at length about it - but the BSF Guides we've created run to hundreds of pages, but much more compelling is the BSF Showcase.
The Microsoft BSF Showcase
We created this to help stimulate a discussion on what learning in the future may look like. When the curriculum is personalised to each learner. Where age isn't the strongest deciding factor on what a student learns next. And where "Subjects" aren't the dividing lines we put into the curriculum. And also, where we look at how students use technology outside of the classroom, and see how it integrates within the educational context. (Anybody with a teenager will know what I mean there. My children come straight home from school and start Messenger, video calls, go into online web communities, and do all of this whilst doing their homework. And although mine haven't reached the stage yet, I have seen how it rapidly becomes the model by which they collaborate and communicate to get their homework done.)
So the BSF Showcase wraps all these technologies together with a new learning style, and says "What If....?"
The first video to watch is only 2 minutes long, and it gives you a brief look at the Showcase, and an idea of the reaction of students, seeing it for the first time.
And the second video, is a much longer guided tour through the BSF Showcase. It is 20 minutes long, but hopefully the video above has given you the appetite to watch it all!