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Invisible Learning to be published in early 2011

About a year ago, Cristóbal Cobo and I announced a research project called Invisible Learning. After many months of work, collecting experiences, researching literature, interviews, and exchanges with experts (and –above all– many hours of writing), we can announce that in 2011 the Invisible Learning book will be a reality (in print and digital formats).

Details about the upcoming book, Invisible Learning: Toward a new ecology of education, are available at http://invisiblelearning.com — and, because we will first publish in Spanish, the website is (for now) in Spanish. We will roll out an English edition of the website and book later in 2011.

The project has exceeded all of our expectations. Not only in terms of interest (over 15,000 references in Google, 7,500 TEDx video playbacks in Spanish and many as well in English), but in the scope of contributions from universities and researchers in the United States, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Finland. We view this as a global commitment (Western, at least) to take a transnational perspective on education at all levels.

The ingredients from these sources are combined in this work to build a large map of ideas, proposals, experiences, tools, methodologies, and research frameworks that seek to make visible those invisible components that lie behind learning. This text seeks out new questions about learning for the upcoming decades.

Although the text has a critical perspective, resulting from the analysis of the shortcomings of educational systems, it also seeks to highlight innovative and transformative initiative that are launching in various corners of the globe.

We do not offer magical fixes for the problems identified, but we assemble the pieces of a conceptual puzzle, constructed from: Society 3.0; lifelong learning; the use of technologies outside of the classroom; soft skills; methodologies for building education futures; serendipic discovery; the hybridization between formal and informal learning; skills for innovation; edupunk and edupop; expanded education; digital maturity; Knowmads and knowledge agents; plus many new literacies relevant to the times in which we live.

We believe that the vested interest and the support provided by dozens of collaborators and institutions such as the Laboratori de Mitjans Interactus (LMI) at the University of Barcelona (publisher) are a living demonstration of the deep interest that exists for building a better education for tomorrow. Hugo Pardo, editor and the publisher’s tireless engine of this book provides some insight on his blog. We will write more about this project and its “added values” as it approaches publication. Stay tuned!

Thank you, Europe!

I just returned from my talks at the Creative Company Conference, ITSMF Academy, and the University of Oxford. The themes of each presentation were different, but I was able to work from a common subset of slides that built from ideas shared in the Designing Education 3.0 series at Education Futures:

Special thanks and greetings go to Rudolf van Wezel, Jamila Ross, Linda van der Heijden, Corrine Nederlof (@nederlof), Fons van der Berg (@helikon), Jeroen Bottema (@jeroenbottema), @roscamabbing, Donna Schaap (@SoyDonna), Ralf Beuker (@iterations), Arne van Oosterom (@designthinkers), Sir Ken Robinson (@SirKenRobinson), the Kaos Pilots, Amnon Levav, Michael Krömer, J. Roos, Agnes Hadderingh, Bert van Lamoen, Dan Sutch, Cristóbal Cobo, Ken Mayhew… and the many others I met and worked with over the past week!

Upcoming talks

Spring semester at the University of Minnesota will conclude in about a month, and I am already busy assembling my summer schedule. So far, it’s looking great!

I hope to meet up with Education Futures readers at each of these events. Contact me if you’ll be in town for any of the above talks!

Beyond Current Horizons

Dan Sutch at Futurelab (UK) alerted me to their new project, Beyond Current Horizons:

Beyond Current Horizons looks at the future of education, beyond 2025. The aim is to help our education system prepare for and respond to the challenges it faces as society and technology rapidly evolve. What skills will children need for work? How might parenting and the family change? What impact will new technologies have on learning

Of particular interest, the Beyond Current Horizons site includes a rich collection of findings, including a review of eight socio-technical change trends for the next 50 years, an overview of the futures field, and many more papers. Dan promises many more papers will be added soon that look into the future(s) of society, technology, science and the implications for education. This promises to be a great resource!

A million paper airplanes

Futurelab, in collaboration with the UK’s Department for Children School and Families, has created Million Futures. The project aims to identify what people think are the biggest challenges facing education in the future. Visit this new website and write your thoughts about future life and learning on virtual paper planes which you can launch into a virtual sky. You can also explore what other people have written, and a lesson plan is available for teachers.

The project seems UK-centric, so I’m not sure if the rest of the world is invited to participate. Maybe “Million Futures 2.0” will invite everybody else to play?

School's out forever

Will Richardson asks, “is anyone else a bit interested in the fact that one 21,000 student district in the UK has decided to close all of its high schools and open learning centers instead:

In the words of rock legend Alice Cooper’s most famous song, “school’s out forever”. Knowsley Council in Merseyside, which – for years – has languished near or at the bottom of exam league tables, has abolished the use of the word to describe secondary education in the borough. It is taking the dramatic step of closing all of its eleven existing secondary schools by 2009. As part of a £150m government-backed rebuilding programme, they will reopen as seven state-of-the-art, round-the-clock, learning centres with the aid of Microsoft – which has already developed links with one school in the borough, Bowring.

The schools are moving from a deficit model of learning (“students can’t do…”) to a “can do” approach that the article claims will create creative students that will be valued by future employers. Operating 24 hours a day, the centers will allow students to explore problems that interest them at their own pace, rather than steering them through inflexible curricula.

This is an important change, as Knowsley Council seems to have figured out that students can get their information from anywhere (electronically, from social interactions, etc.). What’s important is the construction of information into knowledge and the creative use of new knowledge.

Microsoft has so far struck out in its attempts to reform education. Has it finally crafted a hit? This is worth watching…

(Thanks to Scott McLeod for the tip.)