Macmillan Learning recently participated in SXSWedu in Austin, Texas, which is an annual ed tech conference that "fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds in education." Over four days, the community comes together in panels, workshops, and interactive sessions to discuss educational challenges as well as the many opportunities to improve in the future.
Macmillan Learning sponsored several opportunities to bring this community together to discuss the strategies and tools needed in the future, but perhaps the most thought-provoking was our panel discussing The Science of Learning (podcast can be heard here). The panel featured authors Rob Lue and Tyler Cowen debating with Susan Winslow and Editor in Chief of Scientific American, Mariette DiChristina. They discussed and debated how we learn, where we learn, what method of instruction has benefited students the most, what has driven improved outcomes in classrooms, and how all of it has translated to the preparation of our future workforce. They noted that hybrid or "blended" learning has emerged as a teaching method that increases student outcomes while lowering attrition rates. The panelists challenged that combining traditional face-to-face instruction with online learning is not just a skill competency, but an approach that connects to education, leadership, and creativity. They reviewed current research, course experience, and external factors while underscoring that STEM and Liberal Arts education needed a framework to support progress to more effective learning and leadership.
Our graphic artist, Stacey Weitzner, also captured the themes and ideas from the session in an Infodoodle (pictured above). Most of the key points from the session are highlighted there and we will be using this as a springboard for continued discussion.
It was an incredibly thoughtful, engaging debate that continued in the hallway with the audience for nearly 45 minutes as attendees pulled panelists aside to discuss the themes presented.
We want to continue hearing your thoughts! Are we just training drones? Are our teaching methods positively connecting students to learning, leadership, and our future workforce? Is traditional learning meeting teaching/learning goals better than online, or is the hybrid approach best positioning students for the future?
Add to the discussion below with thoughts or questions that you want heard. Didn't go to SXSWedu? No problem. The podcast of the session can be heard here. The full "infodoodle" is attached here and will also be used to continue our conversation in the weeks and months to come.