Sunday, July 28, 2019

Deeper Learning at the Museum School

21st Century Learning

I hate to be that guy, but I'm going to discontinue my use of the above phrase and try my hardest to not be a snob about it.

With that out of the way, I'm excited to share an overview/reflection of deeper learning experiences my team and I have been working on the past few years at the Museum School. Our school is based on three design principles and three partnerships:
-Place Based Education (Grand Valley State University College of Education).
-Design Thinking (Kendall College of Art and Design).
-Museum Context (Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The outflow of this foundation is the goal of creating authentic, local, project-based, 21st-err... deeper learning. We by no means have it all figured out, but I'm super excited about the direction we are going. I made a long winded reflection screencast (right up to that ten minute cut off- thanks Screencastify) starting with our XQ Learner Goals and the similar Deeper Learning Competencies and over-viewing our curriculum integration, project cycles, and some of the ways we've had to break time and space.

While digging through the XQ outcome resource documents, I found a linked article tracing some of the background case studies that lead to the learner goals (Kiel, 2014). I think the key area my co-teachers and I are striving for is summarize in the point "Reaching beyond school walls with partnerships and real world experiences." Our students are constantly shaking hands, making phone calls, and doing work alongside our growing list of community partners. Our project work and the development of 21st century, soft, human skills like communication, collaboration, and creativity flow out of our connections to people and organization already doing good work in our city.

Next week our staff meets with our place based, design thinking, and museum experts to continue co-creating the Museum School deeper learning experience for our students. The two biggest areas we/I are focusing on improving is the competency based framework, and scaffolding.

Competency Based Education. This is a separate blog post. Suffice to say, we are trying to do school without grades. Learning, feedback, proficiency checkpoints, progress monitoring. No grades. I love it, but this is tough work.

Scaffolding. This is my personal goal. I'm finding that while I often provide opportunities for students to execute critical thinking, collaborative, and related skills, I don't often teach it or transparently model it. I think this is a UDL growth area for me, and I want to develop more explicit ways to help students develop these skills as they do authentic project work.

Onward and upward. Or deepward? Deeper learning, right?

Kehl, W. (2014, July 11). Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Public Schools Are Transforming Education. Retrieved from

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