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Getting Smart Podcast

Oct 4, 2017

Kicking off Season 3, The Getting Smart team discuss what’s next in learning and how each of them is playing a role in the development of better education. In this episode, you will hear CEO

Tom Vander Ark, Director of Strategic Design Mary Ryerse, Director of Advocacy Emily Liebtag, COO Caroline Vander Ark and Getting Smart’s new Project Manager Janice Walton’s thoughts on where education is now and where it is headed. The team reflects on the exciting developments they’ve recently seen in learning as well as makes predictions on the future of learning and share how they’re all working to help support these positive changes to the country’s education system.


The discussion begins with CEO Tom Vander Ark speaking about the global shift of personalized learning and the development of schools becoming more interesting, engaging and inspiring. He highlights the importance of having a network to create a rich learning ecosystem as well as a competency-based learning system. Next up, Mary Ryerse discusses a more sophisticated approach to academic development and the future of Social-Emotional Learning and developing a way to measure it. Emily Liebtag then shares her insights on classrooms today and what she sees for the future of learning from her recent school visits. She predicts more high-quality learning experiences through a wayfinding, informal learning approach with guidance. After that, Caroline speaks about focusing on the individual student, building a professional network, and amplifying teaching and learning innovations through storytelling. And lastly, Janice — the newest member of the Getting Smart team — shares her predictions on the future of technology and how she’s involved herself in these advancements.

Key Takeaways:

[:16] Introduction to Season 3

[1:08] Tom and Mary speak about what they’re most excited about in the world of learning today.

[4:30] What Tom sees on the horizon for ‘what’s next’ in the education system. He describes a competency/demonstrated-based system rather than grade-based.

[6:50] Tom’s insights on Getting Smart

[8:30] Tom’s views on social and emotional learning and how to measure this progress

[9:47] What Mary is most excited about in learning today: Increased focus on broader aims for students and straying away from the grade-based system and the elevation of the teacher role.

[11:25] Mary’s views on ‘what’s next’: A more sophisticated approach to academic development: SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) and finding a way to measure it.

[12:25] The future of SEL: Teaching networks prioritizing SEL skills

[14:04] How Mary is helping people and organizations adopt a broader range and incorporating more thoughtful Social-Emotional Learning

[16:00] Emily discusses her insights about learning today from her school visits.

[17:40] What Emily sees for the future of learning: More informal learning and students crafting their own paths through guidance

[19:50] Emily’s role in Getting Smart: Unpacking how we can see more high-quality learning experience in schools

[20:50] Emily shares the improvement she has seen within schools and educators.

[22:09] Caroline shares with Janice what she sees going on in today’s learning that she’s excited about: Technology in schools and the learning needs of both students and teachers.

[25:10] What Caroline sees is next in learning: Focusing on the individual student.

[26:35] Educating both the teacher and student: Building a professional network

[27:50] Caroline’s role in Getting Smart: Amplifying teaching and learning innovations through storytelling

[29:57] Janice’s hopes for the future of learning and what she has seen recently in education: Global education and virtual connections

[32:34] What’s next in learning? Janice predicts virtual reality and hopes that all students will have access to technology to be able to participate in the future of learning.

[34:39] Janice’s role in Getting Smart: Talking with organizations about these advancements and helping them get involved.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Network Effect

Smart Cities That Work for Everyone, by Tom Vander Ark with Mary Ryerse


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