On the drive home this evening I listened to the podcast of Alan November’s conversation with Brad Ovenell-Carter, School Head of the Think Global School presently studying in Australia. This is a group of 15 students and their teachers who don’t have a physical school building, but move every 90 days to another city somewhere in the world. They study via the local museums and other cultural organisations in an anyplace, anytime classroom organised around their learning tools - an iPhone, iPad and Macbook Pro (the most important being the iPhone according to Ovenell-Carter).
This is a fascinating conversation and while this school is not mainstream, it provides insight into an example of education reform that could not have been dreamed about in the recent past. Something Ovenall-Carter said particularly struck a chord with me. He spoke of placing a value on student work. This is, in my opinion, the basis of student motivation. In speaking of students as learners, he said:
It’s a moral problem if we put students through school for a year and [at the end of that time] they throw out their notebooks because they have no value.
Students are producers and much of what they produce has tremendous value and should be shared with families and friends. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. Go to work and write, think, create, debate, build… whatever, then at the end of a month throw it all out. Over time we could not help but lose the motivation to produce. This podcast is an example of new ground being broken by people looking for a way forward in education. It’s good listening.