Gregg Behr, The Grable Foundation
Remake Learning Days Across America
Encouraging Creativity and Curiosity in our Youth, Educators, and Families
What we do? Remake Learning Days Across America (RLDAA) is a learning festival that celebrates the many learning opportunities in any community. This celebration highlights innovative experiences and opportunities for youth to develop their sense of creativity, perseverance, and curiosity. A variety of organizations — such as schools, museums, libraries, after school organizations, early child care centers, universities, media centers, tech startups and more — open their doors and host events for families to learn together. These events are designed to be hands-on, relevant, and engaging educational experiences for youth and their families. The majority of events are free and open to kids of all ages.
We proactively design each festival to address educational disparities for marginalized populations (learners in poverty; learners of color; learners in rural areas; girls in STEM; and learners with exceptionalities). We concentrate event planning, outreach, and marketing in neighborhoods and communities where such marginalized populations reside.
Why we do it? We are living in a time of remarkable change. From the way our cities work to the way our brains develop, everything about our world stands to be revised, redefined, and remade. “This is the story of social, economic, and technological change in the 21st century,” notes a report published by KnowledgeWorks. “We are not following a clear path at a steady clip; we are speeding on an uncertain track at an exponential pace.”
These changes mean, for instance, that young people today are frequent users of digital tools and media. As a result, some research, including from Carnegie Mellon University’s BrainHub, suggests that youth are experiencing different patterns of brain development than previous generations. Given this reality, members of our network ask, “In what ways should teaching and learning, both in- and out-of-school, change as well as engage today’s kids?” And how do we help parents, families, and caregivers understand what's happening?
Schools, libraries, museums, early learning centers, and afterschool programs involved in Remake Learning collectively wrestle with these questions and continuously create projects and programs that “Remake Learning” for today's young people. But a fundamental challenge persists for these educators driving learning innovations: the adults in kids’ lives -- parent and caregivers of all ages -- can't (or won't) keep up, understandably question the needs for changing educational models, and are often frightened by changes. Questions often arise like, “How will this new type of learning affect my child’s test scores?;” “Will this type of learning have an impact on my child’s ability to get into college?;” “This doesn’t look like the way I was taught, and I did fine. Why change?”; “Our kids need to learn to read and do math - We need to get back to basics. This all seems fun, but is it really preparing kids to go to college and get a job?”.
It became apparent that to truly change a regional culture around learning, parents and caregivers not only had to be brought into the conversation about educational innovations but also had to experience creative and modern learning innovations. Parents had to experience new designs for learning, not just hear about them. Only then, we thought, would parents, families, and caregivers appreciate and then demand this type of learning for their children.
And so we launched Remake Learning Days. We thought about the festival as a regional open house of creative learning. Each May since 2016, local schools and organizations have hosted more than 250 events designed to spotlight and celebrate 21st-century learning and actively invite parents, caregivers, and community members to experience creative moments that are igniting learning in their kids. Nearly 30,000 adults and youth attend these events annually. And annually, more than 1000 parents submit survey responses, helping us to understand what's happening; encouraging, from year to year we've noted statistically significant increases in the numbers of parents reporting, for example, that they are “extremely familiar” with the concepts of STEAM learning and other creative learning frameworks.
We’ve seen millions of social media impressions every April-May. We’ve seen intergenerational learning happening in all kinds of learning spaces. We’ve seen caregivers attending across all income levels, all races, and all geographies in our region. We have seen a true regional and joyful celebration of the future of learning.
We are excited that these 17 regions will host their own #RemakeDays festival between April 22 - May 23, 2021. We launch with #EarthDay and finish with Fred Rogers "143" Day (or "I Love You" Day). Click here to learn more about the 15 cities engaging families through RLDAA.
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