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Welcome to Reinventing.School

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By my count, roughly one in three of earth’s 7.8 billion people are children or teenagers, and roughly half of them are enrolled in school. Enrollment, attendance, and completion rates continue to increase, but an almost unimaginable change has occurred. Now, more than a billion young people, and a hundred million teachers and other professionals, must think differently about learning, school, and education.

This is a problem for every individual student and family, for communities and schools and school districts, for colleges and universities, and for the public good. Reinvention must occur in real-time, in the midst of an international economic mess, with deep unknowns about public health, safety, and our pandemic future.

We cannot stop in order to develop, test, and perfect a plan. We must continue to provide an education to well over a billion people, and we cannot rely upon parents, grandparents, and siblings to carry much of the load. There is no single solution because every student is unique, and available resources vary widely. And yet, we must make it work. Every stakeholder must develop his, her, or their own solution.

Reinventing.School provides a structure, a means to think clearly and see the big picture. It is a place where experts gather to address real-world plans, timelines, and possible solutions to extraordinarily challenging problems. It is a new weekly web television series, live on Zoom Thursdays at 4 PM (eastern time), available on-demand a day later on Vimeo and YouTube.

We’ve started this blog to provide information about every Reinventing.School episode, every guest, related links to books and articles and other videos, and occasional written commentary. This is our web headquarters for Reinventing.School, and we hope you will find it useful.

It’s exciting to begin this new adventure. Thank you for joining us on the journey. Please tell your family, friends, and colleagues that a new game has begun and that our intended outcome is a big win for every student on earth.

-Howard

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ABOUT THE SHOW

Before the virus, more than a billion children and teenagers relied upon school for learning. After the virus (or, after the current wave of our current virus), basic assumptions about school and education are no longer reliable. School buildings may become unsafe for large numbers of students. The tax base may no longer support our current approach to school. Without the interaction provided by a formal school structure, students may follow their own curiosity. Many students now possess the technology to learn on their own. And many do not.

Reinventing.school is a new weekly web television series that considers what happens next week, next month, next school year, and the next five years. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania Senior Scholar Howard Blumenthal, Reinventing.school features interviews with teachers, principals, school district leadership, state and Federal government officials, ed-tech innovators, students, leading education professors, authors, realists and futurists from the United States and all over the world.

Each episode features 2-4 distinguished guests in conversation about high priority topics including, for example, the teaching of public health, long-term home schooling, technology access and its alternatives, the role of parents, friendship and social interaction, learning outside the curriculum, the future of testing and evaluation, interruption as part of the academic calendar, job security for teachers and support staff, setting (and rethinking) curriculum priorities, special needs, student perspectives on the job of school, the importance of play, the psychology of group dynamics and social interaction, preparing for future rounds of a virus (or cyberattack or impact of climate change, etc.), college readiness, higher education transformed, the higher education promise in an economically challenged world, and more. Clearly, there is much to discuss; nearly all of it ranks high on the list of priorities for raising the world’s children.