Today’s learners face an uncertain present and a rapidly changing future that demand far different skills and knowledge than were needed in the 20th century. We also know so much more about enabling deep, powerful learning than we ever did before. Our collective future depends on how well young people prepare for the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century life.

Why Do Schools Need to Change?

The factory model is outdated. But why is that so? Why does our nation so desperately need to change the way learning happens in schools? Is there more to next generation learning than innovation for innovation’s sake?

When next gen education leaders articulate Why Schools Need to Change, parents, community members, and the general public become supportive of—and involved in—the work of creating new designs for schools.

Answers to “why” come from all kinds of sources: Statistics and trends on education achievement gaps, employer demands, advances in technology, changing demographics, and more. Learning science and educational research that demonstrate how learning happens and the conditions that support it. The fast pace of cultural and economic shifts happening around us. The documented injustices of poverty and social and cultural oppression.

And then there are the stories: The struggling student who was getting more and more frustrated with each passing day as she kept falling farther behind. The student who was already highly skilled at applying the content in your next lesson. The bright student who was disengaged and on the brink of failing out. The frustration of having to teach to the test when you know that’s not what students need most. The fatigue of adopting the newest curriculum only to be switched again in a few years.

In the MyWays project, NGLC provides compelling evidence about the impact of our changing world on today’s youth and on learning. This resource will help you engage your school and local community in taking on the challenge of answering Why Schools Need to Change.

Education went through massive changes during the pandemic, so we know that change is possible. For those who don't want to go back to the way things were before COVID and are looking for connection and support to take learning forward, NGLC offers the Bravely network. DISCOVER BRAVELY

COVID-19 and Next Gen Learning

NGLC applauds and supports the valiant efforts by educators far and wide to persevere through the massive disruption caused by the pandemic. In the very beginning, educators propped up emergency remote instruction nearly overnight while continuing services from food to mental health and more. Over time, schooling during the pandemic kept shifting as educators met each wave of surging COVID cases, staffing shortages, changing mask and social distancing policies, and the politicizing of public education. Through it all, educators continue to focus on learning and learners and staying connected to their learners and local communities.

Among all the uncertainty, there is a pull to go back to the way things were, but many educators and their communities say now is the time to answer Why Schools Need to Change and come together to create better solutions for our young people.

NGLC teamed up with other organizations to support the education community to respond to the needs of K-12 education, and these projects continue to have an impact on what comes next.

Prepared Project iconWhat Made Them So Prepared? Nine organizations led by NGLC are telling a new story about education during COVID based on the findings from a year-long inquiry into the factors that helped schools and districts quickly pivot to provide next gen learning experiences during the pandemic. We wanted to learn from student-centered schools and districts that have explicitly tried to model the 21st-century skills they want for their students in their approach to learning, adult working culture, and organizational norms. There are amazing stories in every district and school of persistence, care and community, creative problem-solving, flexibility, and innovation. They are worth building on! Explore what we learned and take action on the strategies this project offers to advance your own transformation.

COVID-19 Education Coalition BadgeCOVID-19 Education Coalition: In 2020, ISTE and EdSurge convened a community of nonprofit organizations to support the shift to online learning in seven areas: centering equity; connectivity; international engagement; personalized learning; social emotional learning; safety, privacy, and digital citizenship; and higher education. NGLC co-led the personalized learning working group with the New Hampshire Society for Technology in Education. The result was the research-based Building Blocks Framework, available from LearnLaunch. School and district leaders can use the framework to implement and sustain innovation while delivering equitable, high-quality teaching and learning.

This Is Our Chance Film FestivalThis is Our Chance Film Festival 2020: This free virtual film festival about the intersection of race, education, and youth empowerment was held in October 2020 and some short films and all of the valuable resources on the themes highlighted by the films are still available. NGLC, Education Reimagined, Embark Education, Fielding International, Boundless, HundrED, Micah Memphis, One Stone, Portland Education, and XQ collaborated to produce the festival to inspire and ignite new conversations of what learning can be.

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How You Can Get Involved

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