Power of Place

[While technology can make a difference in learning, especially with anytime, anywhere opportunities, there are times when WiFi fails us. However, the power of place – culture, geography, opportunity – is always there. In this Getting Smart post you’ll discover the start of a new movement that works well with personalized learning, project-based learning, or any other contemporary focus for learning. In my work I’m focusing on Sustainable Living for several projects. The power of place will be a key element in this focus for Design Challenges and other learning projects. The opportunity is not just for students to learn about the power of place, but to define and create the new places to learn for today and tomorrow. Students in the Parkway West Career and Technology Center Consortium will be developing a master plan for a sustainable community for the 21st Century.]

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Place-Based Education (PBE) is an approach to education that takes advantage of geography to make learning authentic, meaningful and engaging for learners. PBE is defined as an immersive learning experience that “places students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences–using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum.”

It’s never been easier to learn anything–anytime and anywhere.

For the first time in human history, we have the tools available to provide access to powerful learning experiences to every person on the planet. It’s not unusual to hear the phrase “anytime, anywhere learning” applied to everything from early childhood education, K-12 and higher education to informal learning, adult education, career training and professional development, etc.Yet, the definition of “anytime, anywhere” learning is often reduced to mean “anywhere you can get a wifi signal.” While technology continues to act as a powerful enabler of access, this limited tech-centric view of “anytime, anywhere” learning fails to fully acknowledge its potential. The challenges of the modern world will not be addressed by technology alone.

We need learners who graduate with deeper learning outcomes that include and extend beyond content knowledge. We must transform the system to fully integrate schools and communities that leverage the “power of place” to equip students with the tools and skills they need–through authentic experiences–to collaborate, think critically and solve complex challenges. This is an absolute requirement as we build a modern workforce equipped to thrive in the “gig economy.” We need young people who are invested in their communities and cities to boost both education and employment.

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