SMARTe - The Four Cornerstones of 21st Century Learning
SMARTe World is built on the technological advances of the 21st century. Twenty-first century learning is a continuous process. We need to teach our youth from a very early age to understand that learning never stops as information literally pours from everywhere.
Learning in the 21st century is not longer about accepting and repeating statements and definitions. It is about finding solutions and implementing them to solve real world problems.
The 21st century educational model is learning how to research data, how to think around data, how to validate data, and how to implement the data in the learning process.
What are the needs of learners in this data filled technological world? Today’s 21st century learning is about solving problems, finding easy and fast resolutions, and sharing them through open source so others have the ability to use their findings in other problem solving endeavours.
At SMATRe World, we believe that there are four cornerstones to the active responsive learning game that is based on asking questions, allowing the learner to analyze, explore, and deliver results.
1. Continuous Process
The process of learning is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular knowledge. Learning is a continuous process of life, the pinnacle of our being. Being a human, we have a great privilege to think and seek continuous learning. It’s our willingness to think, play, try, and share that makes us human.
The Four C’s of the Continuous Learning Process
Curiosity - willingness to think: At SMARTe we drive to establish a learning environment that drives students to think about the world around them.
Curiosity starts with the willingness to ask questions -
What? How? Why? Through questioning, we immediately engage children into the process of learning. By developing curiosity, SMARTe learners master how to think by decomposing ideas, looking for patterns, dealing with abstractions, and using algorithmic design when solving problems.
Creativity - willingness to play: Play is the work of children, often embedded in one's own creativity. It is enjoyable and can be spontaneous or performed for self-amusement. Using the creativity within all children, as well as their desire to play, once we open their curiosity, SMARTe learners acquire skills to reflect, decompress, engage, and perform in playful self-directed learning.
Courage - willingness to try: To be adventurous is to be willing to try new things. SMARTe strives to establish a trusting learning environment where learners feel safe and uninhibited, where failure is recognized as part of the learning process.
Learners are encouraged to prepare, practice, deliver, and try over and over again.
Collaboration - willingness to share: Collaboration implies a positive attitude to actively donating knowledge. Collaboration goes beyond an individual's own learning, but includes one’s eagerness to share their individual intellectual capital to others.
SMARTe learners are encouraged to communicate and collaborate their new knowledge with others; classmates, parents, and community, via resume, retell, recalculate, and share. The willingness to share is essential in today’s technological world.
When learners are willing to ask questions, play with ideas, try new approaches, and willing to collaborate with others they have a roadmap to continuous learning and become agents of their own learning.
At SMARTe we recognize all children have curiosity, creativity, courage, and the willingness to collaborate. Our goal is to build a process of learning that is continuous while developing lifelong learners with an open-minded and positive attitude about the dynamic nature of the world.
2. Finding Solutions
At SMARTe, using an inquiry question posing lesson design, we ask learners to seek solutions. Finding a solution to a problem, our the lead learners question (e.g. how do we save the North Pole?), involves constructing a course of action that will transform your current situation into one where your objective has been achieved. It’s through the questioning process of the lead learner, that learners seek knowledge via seeking to understand, translate, solve, and check.
Understand - Seek to understand: Understanding typically begins with a lapse of time for a moment, when the learner questions what is being asked. Using sensory input, learners begin to look, beyond their eyes, into analysis of the data before them.
Then they need to link the data to something they already know or develop new knowledge of an unfamiliar concept (establishing future links). Understanding concluses when the learner takes the time to check, look over, and look back at what was being asked to ensure they have grasped the idea.
Translate the learning - Seek knowledge: All children are different, with different backgrounds, experiences, and levels of understanding. At SMARTe we recognize learning is personal. It is intuitive to the individual learner and that they will come with different skill sets when it comes to problem-solving.
The goal is to help learners develop skills that help them translate the learning into knowledge they can decipher, interpret and act upon.Translation of learning includes: Identify the novel concepts, import them into your cognitive domain, then implement what you know. SMARTe lead learners will pose questions like, What did you learn today? How can you use it? How can the world use what we all learned here today?
Solve - Take action: Using the steps above, understanding through lapse, look, link, look over, and translating the learning via identify, import and implement are just the beginning steps to solving problems. Knowing these steps is critical in finding the courage and confidence to take action.
To solve problems, learners must take action. Upon analysis, learners need to select alternatives for a solution and implement that solution. Taking action builds new knowledge. It is not enough to know something, but to actually put it into action that is crucial.
Check - Ensure quality: Learners must have the confidence to check their work and even ask others to check their work. Checking is not a personal attack, nor is this a judgement or character, but rather an additional learning opportunity. Double-checking, for oversights and mistakes, is far better than producing poor caliber work and shows personal pride in one’s work.
Revising an incorrect or poor solution is a growth opportunity. At SMARTe we help children seek the best solution, and that re-working, re-thinking, and re-analyzing is just part of the process of learning.
Finding solutions begins with questions. When learners are curious about the world they live in they want to know more. They take ownership in the learning process by asking more questions and solving their own inquiries.
3. Thinking Through Researching
In today’s world, anyone can create websites with correct and sometimes incorrect information. Thus the need for children to understand the importance of checking, as noted above. Technology has put more emphasis on thinking and researching as learners take in and analyze data.
At SMARTe we ask learners to think through researching, which includes manipulating information by using scaffolding and analogies, inquiry-based research, and metacognition. The internet has put more information in the hands of the world, but what becomes important is how to find and manage this information.
Non-Jugement - Observe and accept: At SMARTe we strive to help learners develop a mindfulness of paying attention in the present moment, without judgment. There’s nothing inherently wrong with making judgments. It’s the nature of the human mind to judge. The ability to observe and accept, with an open mind, refraining from judgement (e.g. that’s good/bad) without prejudice is striving to let go of these automatic judgements that might arise in one’s mind. Non-judgement is where thinking and research must begin.
Task-Focused - Staying centered: It’s easy to get side tracked when researching. Staying task-focused and devoted to completing certain objectives, especially those that contribute to the success of a larger project, can be difficult on the internet. SMARTe helps learners stay centered when thinking and researching and develop skills to evaluate, explore, elaborate, and explain.
Horizontal Thinking - Be creative: Horizontal or lateral thinking is directly connected to creativity, play, and fun. It calls upon thinking outside the box and encourages individuals to come up with new and better ways of doing the things. At SMARTe lead learners and learners are encouraged to be creative, think unconventionally - even illogical at times, and that this should be a never ending process of inquiry into today’s ever changing world.
Vertical Thinking - Think critically: Vertical thinking is the opposite of horizontal thinking, as it is usually very selective, analytical, and sequential, relying heavily on data and facts. The process includes selective, logical thinking, using categories and classifications, with a finite process with a conclusion. At SMARTe learners are expected to construct logical justifications for their solution.
Thinking through research is a skill that 21st century learners must master. Technology is not going away. Being creative, using horizontal thinking, and also analytical, via vertical thinking becomes ever so more important as children try to make sense of and manage the ever growing data available in today’s world.
4. Solving Problems
At the heart of the learning game is solving problems and helping learners understand that they have all the information available to them ‘at their fingertips’ when thinking through researching. Rather than make statements, SMARTe lead learners ask learners to help them solve problems (e.g. How could we reduce waste?). Then asking learners for their help and input to finding solutions. This becomes a fun, creative learning game!
Solving problems is the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues in a systematic approach.
Rather than tell students what they need to learn, the SMARTe approach is to ask “How can we solve this problem?” or “What problem can we solve with this information?” which drive children to engage in the learning process. This gives learners the ‘why’ in learning the topic at hand and increases their desire to bring solutions in making the world a better place.
Collect Information - Data collection: Data is everywhere. It’s limitless. Learners must know what are credible sources. At SMARTe we help learners select and identify quality resources, plus how to think through how to collect, analyze, and deliver their findings.
Make a Plan - Roadmap: After setting the stage, SMARTe lead learners typically pose the question “What is our learning goal today?” This allows learners to take ownership in the learning process. They set a goal, develop tasks, consider a given timeframe, and track their progress. Lead learners provide guidance (e.g. we have 30 minutes to complete this task) and monitor progress.
Carry Out - Action: Engaged and active learners carry out their plans by check with the environment to ensure that they have what they need, strategize with peers, and follow through with implementation. Again learners are leading their own learning process. SMARTe lead learners guide and support learners through the process with questions and encouragement.
Check - Scrutinize: In the end, learners must evaluate oneself, the work, and the contribution to others. SMARTe lead learners should probe and challenge learners to ensure that they have put their best efforts forward and created a high quality solution that they can be proud to share with the world (e.g. families, community, possibly on the internet for all to see).
At SMARTe we strive to help learners develop a wide range of problem-solving skills and techniques. Problem-solving helps learners determine the source of a problem and find an effective solution. Not only are these skills important in the classroom, but are also highly useful in everyday life and day-to-day decision making.
Habits of Success
SMARTe World looks to create a learning environment that is crafted to the needs of learners grounded in skills and mindsets for success. To achieve a fulfilled life, learners need to develop “Habits of Success” — mindsets and behaviors that support academic achievement and well-being. These include habits that support healthy development, school readiness, mindsets for self and school, perseverance, and independence and sustainability.
SMARTe incorporates The Building Blocks for Learning Framework (2016) authored by Brooke Stafford-Brizard, Ph.D. and released by Turnaround for Children. This framework is designed for comprehensive student development, grounded in science, and in service of equity.The framework defines Habits of Success, with 16 key social-emotional learning skills outlined for comprehensive student development.
MARTe lead learners create opportunities in lessons and projects that ensure learners are learning to collaborate and build interpersonal habits as they set goals and work towards achieving them.
The goal is to help students develop and show habits independently, along with the ability to transfer them to a variety of life situations.
SMARTe attempts in install mindsets and behaviors that take shape in four levels that set up a learner for a life of well-being:
Curiosity: Each learner is interested in lots of things and wants to understand more, even if that is challenging.
Growth Mindset: Each Learner is a lifelong learner and believes that one's basic qualities are things that can be cultivated through their efforts.
Self-Direction: Each learner is responsible for their own cognitive development by designing one’s own learning path, through setting, monitoring, and achieving their goals, with or without help.
Purpose: Each learner is charting a course for their life that is meaningful and will have an impact on the world.
Researchers have found that learners need Habits of Success — a set of mindsets and behaviors — to succeed in college and life. Development of such habits occurs on a continuum over time and should be integrated into the social learning environment of the SMARTe learning environment.
SMARTe Education Timetable.
SMARTe World is designed as a twenty hour (20hr) instructional week.
Typically four - six hours daily: Monday - Friday.
Learners engage in three educational settings with engaging brain breaks between the components:
1. Community Collaboration
2. eLearning Personalized Digital Learning
3. SMARTe Enrichments.
*Timetables might vary by location and learner group's needs.
eLearning: Personalized Adaptive Software
SMARTe World has partnered with Edmentum in providing eLearning personalized learning experiences. Personalized eLearning enables learners to customize a variety of the elements involved in the online education process. This means that they are asked to set their own goals, go at their own pace, and communicate with lead learners and sand their families to personalize the learning process.
Exact Path - Adaptive Software
Edmentum’s Exact Path combines adaptive diagnostic assessments with individualized learning pathways to promote growth for K-12 grade learners in math, reading, and language arts.
Exact Path tailors learning to each learner’s academic goals, beginning with an opening diagnostic to determine each learner’s individual needs. Extensive psychometric analysis during the adaptive diagnostic assessments ensures that all learners receive a unique testing experience that precisely pinpoints their instructional level, strengths, and needs.
As soon as learners complete their assessment, results within each subject domain instantaneously and automatically define which discrete skills learners are ready to learn first. Those skills are not restricted to a given grade level but instead represent critical learning components pulled from a K–12 learning progression to match learners’ academic readiness.
Each learner’s unique scale scores help select no more than four skills that the learner can begin with, and his or her performance on those skills will continue to shape what follows.
Each Tutorial is self-guided, allowing learners to engage with the learning components at their own pace.
Following each instructional tutorial, learners are presented with an opportunity to practice what they’ve just learned. Practice modules offer a low-risk chance to apply what has just been taught and collect real-time feedback. Scores are recorded and delivered to the lead learner through instantaneous progress notifications.
Each lesson ends with a Mastery Quiz that includes five questions to formatively assess understanding. Learners must earn an 80-percent score or higher in order to show mastery. This three-part lesson format continues for all skills that learners receive in their unique learning path.
If a learner is unsuccessful following a first Mastery Quiz attempt, the lead learner is immediately notified that the learner is struggling via the homepage and learning path visualizations. While this is a terrific opportunity for the lead learner to intervene, leveraging some of the additional videos, worksheets, and lesson ideas found in Exact Path, or using the Study Island software.
Within the online environment, not passing a Mastery Quiz signals that the learner should revisit that skill. The quiz is locked until the learner reviews the lesson again. Often, spending a little extra time revisiting the learning material does just the trick. If the learner is still unsuccessful the second go round, another notification is deployed to the lead learner, encouraging intervention. But, until that intervention can occur, the learner is allowed to move forward, ensuring that he or she is never locked out of learning.
Study Island - Gamified Practice
Edmentum’s Study Island supports learners in achieving grade-level standards proficiency by providing enjoyable, engaging practice. With standards-based formative assessments, to real-time progress monitoring, and ongoing practice, Study Island provides practice proven to produce significant academic growth in math, ELA, science, and social studies.
Study Island leads the way in offering high-quality practice and assessment solutions that present focused instructional support and resources, while providing opportunities for learners to engage in a style that works best for them.
We all know that practice is important, but how much do learners need to truly support skill mastery? Research validated by the Marzano Research Group proves that by using Study Island for just 30 minutes of practice a week, learners show significant growth.
It’s the combination of learning and fun that will lead learners to success.
With Study Island Topic Tree, practice items are organized by standards and skills, allowing lead learners to assign practice or build classroom assessments focused on just what they want to cover. Learners can see their in-progress topics, new assignments when they are created by the lead learner, and suggested topics where they may need a little more practice.
The data-visualization dashboard in Study Island, also known as Sensei, gathers and sorts learner data for educators by subject, topic, and standard. Through the charts, graphs, and visual cues Sensei provides, lead learners can easily see what learners know, and areas where learners are struggling so that they can make faster, more informed instructional decisions.
- Seven Magical Steps
SMARTe World’s enrichment bubbles are designed to actively engage learners in the lessons in Science, Mathematics, Art, Reading, and Technology.
These lessons were designed with the heart and soul of SMARTe founder Katy Toma. Lessons include music, vidoes, inquiry questioning, and drag and drop intervatice built within Bouncee software.
Buncee a creation and communication tool in which SMARTe interactive content, allows learners to visualize concepts and communicate creatively.
The SMARTe enrichment bubbles exemplify the Four Cornerstones inquiry process of learning. Using a questioning and discovery learning process, each lesson is designed in the Seven Magical Steps lesson plan system, beginning with a warm up to learning. Full step-by-step lesson plans are available in the SMARTe content management system - Archbee.
SMARTe Enrichment Themes
Theme-based learning for integrating content areas and learning around makes sense to children.
It helps learners make connections, to transfer knowledge and apply it. Themes fosters comparison, categorizing and pattern finding – building blocks of the scientific method.
The SMARTe Enrichment have a weekly theme that lead learners can utilize throughout the day, from the opening welcome, to brain breaks between learning modalities.