Are we designing learning experiences that are aligned with how the brain is wired to learn?

When we think of school, many of us picture a classroom with desks, a blackboard, and a teacher at the front of the room. Why is that?

The roots of our current education system can be traced back to 18th-century Europe, when the driving assumption was that children were empty vessels into which adults needed to pour all essential knowledge. This formula has been tweaked and “perfected” for the last 200 years.

But today we understand a lot more about how learning happens. Ask Why: Classrooms, is the second in a four-part series, co-produced by attn: and 180 Studio, that is designed to invite us to reflect on the assumptions we make about school and learning. It shows communities across the country beginning to reimagine what education could look like by creating learning experiences that are far more aligned and designed with how adolescent brains are wired. The MET School in Providence, RI (a Big Picture Learning school) is one example of how public schools are expanding the definition of the classroom to include more of “the real world.”

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Studies show that when people learn by doing, they have 90% recall after two weeks. [/perfectpullquote]

Hands-on learning and real-world learning experiences are deeply embedded in the culture of many New Hampshire schools, giving our young people opportunities to work directly with mentors and experts in their local communities, so that learning happens anywhere and everywhere, instead of just in a classroom.

In fact, many districts are changing the way they approach testing and evaluation by embedding them into the learning experience through project-based assessments so that students can demonstrate their knowledge by applying it to a problem or challenge that exists in our everyday lives.

You can see some examples of how New Hampshire schools are embracing hands-on learning here:

Check out the first video in this series, Ask Why: Memorization.