Guest post by Lois Adams-Rogers, Consultant and Jennifer Davis, Program Director, Innovation Lab Network, CCSSO
In February, 2013, Innovation Lab Network (ILN) deputy commissioners and state points of contact, along with selected invitees, gathered together for a full work day to explore key levers for transforming education in their states. The framework used by these educators was KnowledgeWorks’ new future forecast, Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem.
The focus of this day was to provide a safe space for state leaders in the Innovation Lab Network to push their thinking as they considered innovations, policy implications, and future directions while leading transformative change designed to equip ALL students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be ready for college, career, citizenship, and lifelong learning.
KnowledgeWorks’ new futures map and the various activities throughout the day stimulated the discussion and provided the opportunity for “out-of-the-box” thinking and solution-seeking. Participants agree that the challenge ahead, regardless of the state, is to create the conditions for change through their local-to-state design work and through the collective work of the ILN. States must set conditions that enable competency-based, personalized, anytime-anywhere learning to re-shape the student experience – essentially “regenerating the learning ecosystem,” to borrow from the lingo of the day. New relationships among system levels; new roles for educators; new experiences and pathways for students; new metrics, data, business models, and investment strategies: these are the kinds of elements of change discussed at the meeting that states face as they seek to transform their education systems.
Of course, the paradox of maintaining continuous improvement, while also designing a new system, is inherent in experiences of ILN states; but progress is being made, and the Innovation Lab Network continues to illustrate the power of learning with and from one another in the midst of such challenging work.