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Getting Smart Podcast

Dec 16, 2020

Today, Tom is joined by a powerful panel of ed leaders to discuss the future of learning. You will hear from Dr. Pamela Moran, Byron Sanders, and Ed Hess.

Dr. Pamela Moran is recognized internally as a leading advocate for contemporary education. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Virginia School Consortium for Learning and routinely consults with higher education, non-profits, and school districts. Byron Sanders is the President and CEO of Big Thought; an organization that serves 150,000 students at more than 400 locations with creative enrichment. Their work is about closing the opportunity gap and building agency, hope, and creativity. Ed Hess has spent more than 20 years in the business world as a Senior Executive at Warburg Paribas Becker, Boettcher & Company: Robert M. Bass Group, and Jones Lang Wooten. He’s the author of 13 books, over 150 practitioner articles, and over 60 Darden cases dealing with innovation, learning cultures, and system processes.

Join in the conversation as Tom speaks with his esteemed guests about the invention opportunities in learning, the future of the American high school, and the kinds of learning experiences that are really going to benefit students. This is a deep and powerful conversation with tons of key takeaways, important lessons, and insightful wisdom that you won’t want to miss out on!


Key Takeaways:

[:10] About today’s episode with Pam Moran, Ed Hess, and Byron Sanders.

[1:18] Tom welcomes his panel of guests to the podcast!

[1:44] Ed Hess’s book, Hyper-Learning, suggests that we should learn to do stuff that computers are not very good at (i.e. excel cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally in ways that technology cannot). Ed elaborates more on this and how it sets the stage for the future of education.

[7:53] Byron’s thoughts on we should redefine the purpose of, and goals of, high school.

[11:50] Pam shares her insights on how she sees the redefining of the goals and purpose of high school, and whether or not Portrait of a Graduate is a good step in the right direction.

[17:35] Tom’s new book, Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, shares the radical proposition that high school should be a place where you figure out who you are, what you’re good at, what you care about, where/how you’re going to make a difference in the world, and that difference-making is the new superpower. Does Ed see this as part of the new core purpose of high school?

[19:58] The kinds of learning experiences that Byron sees as really benefiting high school students.

[24:20] Pam shares what kinds of learning experiences she sees as benefiting high school students.

[25:15] Pam proposes a question for the panel: “What would need to change if what we wanted to do was to move towards kids who understand the concept of ‘quiet egos’ and why that is an important disposition to have success in life?”

[26:02] Ed answers Pam’s question.

[27:02] Ed shares a prediction on how he sees the future of classrooms within high schools.

[29:12] Tom proposes that making an advisory structure and relationships central in both the secondary and post-secondary experience is part of the answer. Ed also shares his thoughts on this.

[31:00] Byron answers Pam’s question.

[32:12] Byron elaborates on the stakes and challenges that we’re really facing in trying to redefine high school.

[33:42] In response to this inequity problem, some would say the answer would be to double down on the current inherited system that is not working for high school students. What is Byron’s response to this?

[36:41] Ed shares his thoughts on what he sees as being at stake as we redefine these inherited systems.

[38:51] Pam shares her own thoughts and insights on the topic of what we need to be cautious of as we redefine high school.

[42:18] Byron shares his thoughts on how we could reorganize the high school experience in a more community-connected way.

[49:56] Pam asks Ed for his insights on what it would take to actually start to create an environment for teenagers that doesn’t look like anything that we have right now.

[53:23] Tom wraps up the podcast and gives his thanks to Pam, Ed, and Byron for sharing their insights and wisdom.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Dr. Pamela Moran

Virginia School Consortium for Learning (VaSCL)

Byron Sanders

Ed Hess

Big Thought

Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change, by Ed Hess

Portrait of a Graduate

Difference Making at the Heart of Learning: Students, Schools, and Communities Alive With Possibility, by Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag

Journeyman Ink: DaVerse Lounge

Creative Solutions

We Are Crew: A Teamwork Approach to School Culture, by EL Education

EL Education

Valor Public Schools

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 236: “Listening to Kids and Designing from Scratch for Timeless Learning with Pam Moran

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 254: “Byron Sanders on Closing the Opportunity Gap in Dallas

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 283: “Ed Hess on Adapting to the Speed of Change


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