Is School Enough for 21st Century Learners?

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If you ask facilitator Monika Hardy and any student at the Innovation Lab in Loveland, Colorado about education, you’d certainly learn that school is not enough for 21st century learners.

Understanding that the confines of the traditional classroom, the constraints of a standard curriculum and high stakes testing inhibit the growth of both individuals and communities, Hardy and other leaders at the Thompson School District created something unique. The Innovation Lab is a place where 21st century leaners can spend entire days focusing on what matters to them.

The Innovation Lab is home to many students who are shaping their own education with community members, who act as mentors.

So, instead of learning a craft only from a textbook and the direction of a teacher’s interpretation of the related skills, these 21st century learners find their own path to knowledge with the help of Innovation Lab teachers and professionals in their fields of interest.

Students like Jessi, seen in the video below, are making decisions about their learning and about their futures.

To learn more about the Innovation Lab and other creative alternatives to traditional education around the world, check out this amazing PBS video. Meanwhile, tell us what kinds of innovative learning projects are taking place at your school to inspire 21st century learners.
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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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