By acknowledging that different students learn at different rates and attending to those differences as part of the educational endeavor, we can ensure equal opportunity by customizing appropriately without sacrificing high expectations.” – Nicholas C. Donohue, President, and CEO, Nellie Mae Education Foundation (pg. 8)
Our society has gone from Flintstones to the Jetsons nearly overnight. The internet, technology, the importance of social media and Personal Learning Networks, the move toward collaboration has made the world our schoolhouse filled with people of all ages, cultures, religious backgrounds, social/economic backgrounds. To educate the generations coming up, we need to approach learning with a different model.
Therefore, we offer you “The Matrix of a Learner”. Our vision is to unite educators, parents and learners through the “Matrix” to build a global educational “community” for learners of any age, political, cultural, economic background. This learning environment is free from pre-determined outcomes about what learners should know when they should know it, and how they should learn it. By following the individual learner, much of the labeling, medicating and “outsourcing” schools can be eliminated
We can accomplish our vision if:
- Teachers become facilitators to the individual rather than continuing to direct group learning to the standards.
- Learning is “unschooled”, interest-driven rather than standard. There are no grade levels; learning becomes a continuous flow rather than chopped up into blocks.
- Real-time, hands-on activities which require knowledge to be applied are used to assess mastery of skills.
- Digital Badging is used to document what, when, how mastery was accomplished with links to all the artifacts developed.
The rapid development of technology and the growth of quality resources make it possible for every individual to successfully become informed, creative, globally literate citizens of the 21st century. The world is our school. We can learn with and from its people. Why would we want to limit our learning to four walls?
NGGE has been undergoing the building of its Matrix over a period of 10 years starting in 2005 with Hanson’s Educational Services. However, the desire to give each student an individualized program was my motivation when I first started teaching in 1979.
Hanson’s Educational Services gave me the opportunity to see if Open Educational Resources (OER) could finally accomplish this vision. In 2010, HES turned into Mistacres School, a face-to-face and virtual school. The second “student” I had was The Cheery Children Education Centre in the Kibera ghetto of Nairobi, Kenya. This lead to teaming up with other educators from around the world who were unsatisfied with the education system. The network grew and we incorporated Next Generation Global Education in 2012 as a not-for-profit organization.
The Matrix of a Learner was developed in April, 2014 as an alternative model for education. It defines us each as a learner, returning control of what, how, and when we learn something because we are motivated by why. Together we are creating a global educational environment where learners can learn with and from each other.
For seven months in 2015, I traveled to five countries to share this model of education which was very well received. In January of 2016, a revised diagram of the Matrix was released.
We are now in the process of starting small pilots in Africa and the United States which will allow us to collect the data necessary to prove our model.