Building Community
Building Community

When educators design and create new schools, and live next gen learning themselves, they take the lead in growing next gen learning across the nation. Other educators don’t simply follow and adopt; next gen learning depends on personal and community agency—the will to own the change, fueled by the desire to learn from and with others. Networks and policy play important roles in enabling grassroots approaches to change.

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Six podcasts of leaders of regional next gen school incubators are by turns wise, surprising, insightful, practical, and—every minute—illuminating.

Cost of listening to one podcast from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s recent series on catalyzing breakthrough schools: 17 minutes. Zero dollars.

Value of hearing hard-won lessons from one of the Super Six-Pack incubators that are changing the face of American public education? Priceless.

The podcast series was just completed this month, with the New Orleans installment. That one followed other interviews with leaders from organizations in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Oakland, Colorado, and New England, all pursuing a mighty dream: to develop the next generation schools we all know we need, but that we fear may never arrive.

The organizations are all part of the Next Generation Learning Challenges’ Regional Funds initiative. Collectively, by Fall ‘16 they will have catalyzed at least 50 new or redesigned schools reflecting principles of next generation learning—personalized, competency-based, blended, experiential, student-centered, designed around preparing students for genuine readiness for college, career, and citizenship. Expertly moderated by Cheryl Niehaus at Dell (a funder of the initiative), the six podcasts are by turns wise, surprising, insightful, practical, and—every minute—illuminating.

Why next gen learning? Why your city or region? Why now? Who’s involved? What’s been hard? What’s been crazy-fulfilling? Why might this work? Why might this not? How can other cities and regions do it right, and avoid your bumps and scrapes?

There are six podcasts in all. Drink up! Great carbs and strategic-planning vitamins in here, for any and all who share the dream.

For more about the podcasts, see Sound Advice on Personalized Learning from Six Regional Incubators. For more about how the Regional Funds are pursuing the dream, check out the series on Getting Smart’s blog, starting with this week’s How Districts and Charters Shape Local Strategies for Next-Gen Learning. (That's the Regional Fund six-pack, by the way, in the photo—engaging with NGLC staff in some design thinking at IDEO's offices in San Francisco.)

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Andy Calkins headshot

Andy Calkins

Co-Director, NGLC

As co-director for NGLC, Andy Calkins helps to lead strategy development, organizational management, and program execution across all phases of the initiative.