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Schooling Redesigned

Towards Innovative Learning Systems

image of Schooling Redesigned

What does redesigning schools and schooling through innovation mean in practice? How might it be brought about? These questions have inspired an influential international reflection on “Innovative Learning Environments” (ILE) led by the OECD. This reflection has already resulted in publications on core design principles and frameworks and on learning leadership. Now the focus extends from exceptional examples towards wider initiatives and system transformation. The report draws as core material on analyses of initiatives specially submitted by some 25 countries, regions and networks. It describes common strengths around a series of Cs: Culture change, Clarifying focus, Capacity creation, Collaboration & Co-operation, Communication technologies & platforms, and Change agents. It suggests that growing innovative learning at scale needs approaches rooted in the complexity of 21st century society and “learning eco-systems”. It argues that a flourishing middle level of change around networks and learning communities provides the platform on which broader transformation can be built.

This report is not a compendium of “best practices” but a succinct analysis presenting original concepts and approaches, illustrated by concrete cases from around the world. It will be especially useful for those designing, researching or engaging in educational change, whether in schools, policy, communities or wider networks.

“The OECD’s ILE work has mobilised and generated profoundly important knowledge about the nature of learning and opened understandings of learning environments within and beyond school. The ILE Framework has already proved to be an invaluable tool for the emerging future of learning leadership and systems development.”

Professor Michael Schratz, Dean, School of Education, University of Innsbruck, Austria; President of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI)

“Innovation and creativity are the lifeblood of learning. Schooling Redesigned summarises beautifully one of the OECD's most fascinating projects - an attempt to look at the DNA of innovation in schools. Using a global range of actual examples it describes the conditions that education systems have to create if children and their parents, teachers and communities are to feel confident and optimistic about the future. For teachers, the messages are inspiring. Education systems have to focus on enhancing teachers' capacity and motivation. Standardisation cannot do that. Its messages to the profession and its organisations are profound. Teacher unions are, can and should be at the centre of creating the conditions for innovation.”

John Bangs, Special consultant at Education International; Chair of TUAC’s international group on Education, Training and Employment Policy

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Promising strategies for spreading innovative learning environments

This chapter provides an overview of the strategies and initiatives that were contributed to the “Implementation and Change” strand of the ILE study. Altogether, 26 participating systems, including countries, provincial states, foundations and networks, submitted promising examples of change strategies. Each is described briefly in turn. The chapter then identifies underlying threads summarised as a series of C’s: Culture change, which is more important but much harder to realise than surface change; Clarifying focus, as trying to do all at once risks disjointed diffusion and dilution; Capacity creation, consisting of knowledge (including research), professional learning and the capacity to act on that knowledge and learning; Collaboration and co-operation, for collaborative professionalism is assumed in many strategies as are networks and professional learning communities; Communication technologies and platforms as prominent parts of professional practice and change strategies; and Change agents, i.e. specific specialist roles providing local drive, expertise and influence.

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