Re-Envisioning Education for Purposeful Learning
By Cindy Crimmin
Implicit in the theme of this issue, Re-Envisioning Education for Purposeful Learning, are several questions about how students and educators at every level will redefine their roles and responsibilities in a rapidly changing, highly technological world. The theme invites authors to address the challenges of the shift from traditional educational models to environments where student-directed learning impacts nearly everything: curriculum, instruction, assessment, facilities, educator preparation, professional development, evaluation, and district accountability.
By definition, purposeful learning focuses educators and students on the why behind learning goals and ensures that students understand how class activities, assignments, and lessons relate to those goals. We already know that learners of all ages are most inspired by and willing to work toward mastery when learning goals directly correlate with essential, real-world knowledge and skills.
We are beginning to appreciate the full value of allowing students to decide and assume responsibility for what and how they learn.By helping them to connect what they learn today with their expectations and hopes for the future, we enhance their ability to contribute meaningfully to local and global communities and to make good decisions about their futures.
In this issue, authors write about several elements critical to a re-envisioned perspective of education: moving toward student-directed learning and the era of purposeful learning; implementing new teacher evaluation tools; and linking contemporary education reforms with technology. With an eye toward facilities and student learning, authors offer distinct approaches: integrating student-driven academic experiences with real-time facility design and construction; introducing the concept of the Learning Commons to re-envision learning spaces; and navigating the challenges of virtual collaboration.
Massachusetts ASCD welcomes several authors whose articles introduce two new Perspectives features.”In My Opinion” invites members to share personal reflections about theme-related educational issues; the first article in this series touches upon educational changes and initiatives over the course of many years. “Listening to Student Voices” presents short, theme-related articles authored by students. Six young authors from an all-boys college preparatory school in Boston describe how they find purpose in what they study in school and how they take ownership of their learning.
We hope these combined viewpoints and voices, both seasoned and youthful, will inspire our readers to join us in the dynamic process of re-envisioning education for purposeful learning beyond the traditional models.