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Reviewing "A Rich Seam" by Michael Fullen & Maria Langworthy

In A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning, Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy discuss the evolving relationships among students, teachers, technology, curricula, school cultures, and assessment in the context of the three forces they name as driving educational transformation—“new pedagogies, new change leadership, and new system economics”.  The focal point of new pedagogies centers on dynamic, equitable partnerships between teachers and learners in which trusting relationships are built, two-way feedback improves learning, students are motivated to discover personal aspirations, and learning how to learn is as important as mastering content.  The learning partnership then equips students “to become leaders of their own learning” by actively participating in the creation of new knowledge and refining future-oriented skills through complex problem solving processes that have real-world relevance.  Fullan and Langworthy delve into worthwhile examples that illustrate several “deeper learning tasks” in practice—generally projects that promote what Fullan terms the 6 Cs: character education, citizenship, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.  

In chapter four, Fullan and Langworthy brilliantly incorporate the third component—digital tools and resources—into their articulation of new pedagogies.  They argue that technology use in educational spaces has long been tied to traditional pedagogies and lacking in creativity;, and only in rare instances has technology been fully integrated into deeper learning.  It is here that readers will fully grasp their framework for “new pedagogies,” one in which student learning and pedagogy serve as the foundation that is then enabled and accelerated by technology.  

Maria Langworthy, Worldwide Research Director of Educational Solutions at Microsoft

The authors document real-life anecdotes and vignettes from schools serving as early adopters of the new pedagogies model, thereby providing a refreshingly reimagined vision for education.  As actions spread further, they posit that deeper learning will be embraced more systematically.  In the meantime, they candidly express that assessment is the weakest part of the model and call for the development of measures to evaluate deep learning and the associated pedagogies.  They move into the implications for educational leaders by offering recommendations for the roles and conditions that are needed to build the appropriate culture and capacity within schools.  In closing, Fullan and Langworthy provide a welcomed analysis and financial modeling of the costs associated with system-wide implementation of a new pedagogies model—one that they urge can produce twice the learning for the same price or less.  A Rich Seam captures the stories of what is working, what isn’t and through the simple act of storytelling, empowers us all to create what has yet to be tried.

Want to hear more from Michael Fullan? Register today for the free CILD Virtual Summit on Deeper Learning. Every day for five days starting March 20, you’ll receive a new video interview with different experts (including Michael) on various facets of deeper learning. Click here to register for the free virtual summit.