Searching for “A-Ha”

When I first joined the Education Innovation Fellowship, I believed its only goal was to highlight all of the benefits that using technology in the classroom would have on student achievement. Well, guess what? I was wrong. And not just a little wrong—more like “What was I thinking?” wrong.

In fact, blended learning and technology have been only one modular part, thus far, in the overall design of this year-long fellowship. Every day, I’m finding myself stretched to wrestle with new considerations:

  • How do we get students to articulate, design, and be at the center of creating their own classrooms and schools?
  • How did exemplary schools chart and achieve successful academic outcomes for the majority of their populations?
  • What effects do stress, trauma, and poverty have on executive functioning?
  • How does one design and fund a successful education startup?
  • How much or how little should race be considered when designing a program?
  • Are character and empathy curricula equally as important as academic curricula?
  • What effect does interior design have on students’ feelings, emotions, and learning?
  • What does project-based learning look like, and how can students with varying abilities be successful in utilizing it?
  • How do you protect students from their own environments so that the people and things that they love don’t become the people and things that ultimately hurt them?

In this work, we’re all chasing the how, the what, the if. We’re all looking for that ever elusive, one-size-fits-all formula of success, because as educators, we are just as familiar with failure as our students. Thus far, every conversation, case study, book, film, site visit, and design class has been in search of that “a-ha” moment. And none of us quite know what it is.

However, we do know that we’ve seen glimmers of it here and there. We know that individually, as educators, we have small “a-ha” moments all the time. And through this Fellowship, we know that we’re not alone in this search—not only for academic success, but for lifelong success.

Alex Brown, 2015 Education Innovation Fellow
Randle Highlands Elementary School

Alexander-Brown-Web

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