Kicking Off a New Virtual Symposium in Response to the Pandemic

“From Gathering to Transformation” is a weekly virtual collaboration with global partners in education to move towards learner centered transformation. Hosted by Fielding International, and in partnership with Open Way Learning, Transcend, Education Reimagined, hundrED, Student Voice, and Next Generation Learning Challenges, our summit is introduced with a mini keynote by a leader in education followed by the exploration of two guiding questions in small breakout groups.


Over 130 participants welcomed Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs as the keynote for the week of April 2. Dr. Jacobs is founder and president of the Curriculum Designers Group. Her models on curriculum mapping and design have been featured in her eleven books and are the basis for software solutions used throughout the world. In 2014 she received the MAIS International Educator Award in Seville, Spain. Dr. Jacobs is serving as program development advisor to Amazon Studios’ children’s programming division.

This week’s summit explored how we can amplify student voice during this disruptive moment and support student-centered learning when we return to school. Heidi Hayes Jacobs set the stage by beckoning us to think outside of the box. 

We can use this time as an opportunity to reflect on what we are observing about ourselves and learning, what are new ways of learning that have been exciting, and what are things you miss. Dr. Jacobs led participants through three evolutionary phases of this collective experience we are facing. 

Curriculum triage addresses the immediate need to act smart to provide accessible and purposeful distance learning experiences. The transition phase prompts us to conceive of new and agile ways we can frame this change to have positive lasting effects. The post pandemic phase requires us to take the long view and implement innovative and dynamic prototypes to prepare our learners for the world as it has become. 

“In this time, we have to draw courage and look to the voices of wisdom, whoever they are, and we must face this challenge together.”
– Heidi Hayes Jacobs 

As the participants were broken up into sixteen breakout groups, they pondered two guiding questions:

1) How might we amplify student voice during this disruptive moment?

2) Given the unknowns facing us, how might we support student-centered learning when we return to school? Some critical patterns emerged from the data. 

Every young person has a story to tell, so creating opportunities and interest for those stories to be told, heard, and valued is an important step to amplify student voice. Several groups noted how the balance of power has already shifted in distance learning, with students having much more agency in their learning. Many innovative teachers are leveraging that agency to connect students with community projects of internal interest and external value.

A current student from One Stone in Boise, Idaho remarked: “Students are sharing on social media how they are contributing during the pandemic. They want to be of service.”

A common thread emerged around the relationship between amplifying student voice and supporting long-lasting education transformation. Another One Stone student remarked that simply inviting young people to participate in things like From Gathering to Transformation makes it easier for adults to see young people as willing and able collaborators.

Key Findings

A common thread emerged around the relationship between amplifying student voice and supporting long-lasting education transformation.

Another One Stone student remarked that simply inviting young people to participate in things like From Gathering to Transformation makes it easier for adults to see young people as willing and able collaborators.

Several groups noted how the balance of power has already shifted in distance learning, with students having much more agency in their learning. 

Many groups synthesized their discussion with a call-to-action, and Tweeted it using #covid19ed (go search for them on 4/2/2020)

Here is a sampling of those messages: 

“Vital in this moment: how might students and adults collaborate to create MUCH more visible platforms to amplify student voice, so that new models of learning and school and systems can be designed WITH them rather than being done TO them.”

“Could we have a one million student virtual march?”

“Young people must be at the table in redesigning their learning experience. If this moment isn’t calling us to do that and moving us into action, what will?”

Check Out

#covid19ed

on Twitter

Collaborate with World Educators to Explore the Potential for Change in the New Normal

Register and Join the Meeting Every Thursday at Noon ET/11am CT (1600 GMT)

https://fieldingintl.zoom.us/j/497294924

The findings from each event will be summarized in our Insight section on this website, and will be shared on social. This work is meant to be shared freely, and expanded by your own community.