Editor's Note: James Sanders is the Director of Innovation for EdTechTeam and an Entrepreneur in Residence at KIPP Bay Area Schools. Prior to joining EdTechTeam, James was a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow and oversaw innovation for the KIPP schools in the Bay Area. This August, James helped the U.S. Department of Education launch the Future Ready Schools pledge, calling upon school district leaders around the country to commit to having Future Ready Schools.
Education needs a new “north star,” one focused on creating world-class schools where students have agency, and the teachers are empowered to be entrepreneurs in the classroom. Our learning spaces should be inspiring, and school leaders need to have the courage to take smart risks as part of the innovation process.
I believe that the current debates around testing, standards, unions, charters, choice, and tenure are undermining teaching and learning. The videos in this playlist represent the mindset and the type of teaching and learning I believe our students deserve. In the list you'll find two videos that represent each of the following areas, which form the core of what I believe it means to be Future Ready: Courageous Leadership, Empowered Teachers, Student Agency, and Inspiring Spaces.
Video Playlist: The World Needs Future Ready Schools
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- Audri's Rube Goldberg Monster Trap (4:07)
How are we as educators providing students with the opportunities and agency to tackle difficult problems? Students should be given problems that don’t have clear-cut answers (like real life!) and be pushed to design creative solutions to solve them.
- Caine's Arcade (10:58)
When you’re assigning students your next project, try to hold off on giving a fixed example or goal. Instead, do what world-renowned educator Patrick Green does and give The Shoulder Shrug. Design projects where students will be able to surprise you. This video is a little long, but captures the type of creativity we’re trying to unleash!
- Ramsey Musallam: 3 Rules to Spark Learning (6:29)
When I’m looking for inspiration, I turn to some of my favorite teachers. Ramsey is the embodiment of an Empowered Teacher! Through his thoughtful integration of technology and inventive ways of sparking creativity, he's revolutionizing the definition of classroom teaching.
- Esther Wojcicki - Journalism is Really Thinking 101 (3:06)
Esther Wojcicki, the founder of the Palo Alto High School journalism department, is one of the people that I look up to most in the world. In addition to teaching, Wojcicki was heavily influential in the development of Google Apps for Education (yes, really!). Here she talks about the importance of media education.
- Moonshot Thinking (3:45)
It’s impossible to know what type of environment and workplaces our students will inherit after they leave our classrooms. School leaders need to take smart risks and constantly look for better solutions to existing problems. This "moonshot thinking" video provides great tips for a forward-thinking mindset.
- Future Learning | Mini Documentary (12:50)
Though a little long, this mini-documentary will get you thinking about what the schools of the future might look like. If we're going to break out of the obsolete model that’s currently undermining teaching and learning, then we need to rethink everything. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to know how others are approaching the problem.
- Full S[T]EAM Ahead - How Technology Rocks the Classroom (2:18)
This video was one of the finalists in the White House Student Film Festival. In it, a teacher creates an inspiring learning environment by providing students with opportunities to learn by doing. Students design and test hypotheses and learn how to become inventors and engineers.
- The Flipped Classroom (2:14)
When pioneer teachers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann wanted to create a learning enviornment where students were applying their learning rather than just consuming it, they invented the idea of the “Flipped Classroom.” Though the idea is ubiquitous in school innovation conversations today, for them it was completely uncharted territory.
More Resources on Future Ready Schools
As educators and entrepreneurs we live in incredible times. Whatever you are passionate about, don’t be afraid to chase it, and when things don’t go as planned, iterate on your solutions and try again. For every project and initiative that I’ve seen succeed, there are a handful of failed attempts that come before it. Wake up every day asking the questions “why do we do it this way” and “how can we do it better?” What new approach to teaching and learning will you develop? The following tools can help you start to think about how to be Future Ready:
- TED ED is my favorite YouTube channel. They pair amazing educators with world-class animators to create visually-stunning educational videos.
- Zaption is a fantastic video tool created by former educator Chris Walsh. The program allows you to create interactive video lessons.
- ShowYou is a tool and mobile app that allows you to discover great videos and browse through the amazing videos your PLN is sharing on Twitter and Facebook.
- The Kids Should See This is a website where a mom and her children highlight great videos online that you and your students should see.
- The #gafesummit hashtag is a great place to follow the conversation of teachers and discover amazing resources shared by people attending Google Apps for Education summits being produced by the EdTechTeam all over the world.