EPISODE 7: Learning and Teaching Hope

On Thursday, June 18 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we recorded the seventh LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. If you miss the LIVE show, we post the edited version here by Monday over the weekend.

This week, REINVENTING SCHOOL addressed a difficult question for students, parents, teachers and administrators: the many aspects of hope in the midst of a very challenging time. Hope is connected to reasonable expectations, optimism, temperament, social action, and more. This required sorting out, so we invited several experts from very different domains for our discussion. MK Asante is a filmmaker, author, and professor at Morgan State University and India's MICA Business School in India. Dr. Lara Jana is a pediatrician, educator, and the author of The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today that Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow. Sharon M. Ravitch, Ph.D., is a Professor of Practice at The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and a GIAN Scholar of the Government of India.

Please join us on Thursdays for the live shows, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.
More about this week's guests:
6051276280?profile=RESIZE_584xMK Asante is a best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, recording artist, and distinguished professor who the Los Angeles Times calls “One of America’s best storytellers.” He is the author of Buck: A Memoir, praised by Maya Angelou as “A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.” Buck is a multi-year Washington Post Bestseller and the recipient of numerous literary awards. Buck is currently being adapted into a major motion picture. Asante studied at the University of London, earned a B.A. from Lafayette College, and an M.F.A. from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He is the Host and Co-Executive Producer of While Black with MK Asante, a Snap Original docuseries nominated for a 2020 Critics’ Choice Real TV Award. Asante has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, as well as hundreds of other universities. He has toured in over 50 countries and was awarded the Key to the City of Dallas, Texas. He is featured in A Changing America, a permanent video exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.


6051290477?profile=RESIZE_930xSharon M. Ravitch is a Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Dr. Ravitch co-founded Penn’s Inter-American Educational Leadership Network. She serves as the Principal Investigator of a number of multi-year international applied development research initiatives, one in Nicaragua and several in India.  Ravitch has published five books including Applied Research for Sustainable Change: A Guide for Education Leaders (with Nicole Carl, Harvard Education Press, 2019); and School Counseling Principles: Diversity and Multiculturalism (American School Counselor Association Press, 2006). Ravitch is currently completing a book, Building (and Critiquing) Expertise: Framing Research and Professional Development. She has recently begun an ethnographic research project, in collaboration with Kevin Kelley, a 32-year USPS employee, focused on the lived experiences and unique perspectives of urban mail carriers as they relate to the current moment of distrust, community (dis)engagement and organizing, and relational stress and healing in the United States.  Ravitch earned two master’s degrees from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology and Education, and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in an interdisciplinary program that integrates across the fields of anthropology and education.


6051298297?profile=RESIZE_400xPediatrician, educator, health communicator, and award-winning author, Dr. Laura Jana finds connections across disciplines and crystallizes big ideas into far-reaching, real-world applications, with a focus on social impact. Currently an Associate Research Professor at Penn State’s Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, Dr. Jana was most recently Director of Innovation in Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Jana is an internationally acclaimed speaker invited to present at venues spanning from local, state, and national pediatrics, education, and early education conferences to the US Chamber of Commerce, the TED stage, and the annual meeting of The World Bank. As a translator of ideas and facilitator of dialogue, Dr. Jana is on a mission to unite these worlds in order to change public conversation and understanding about the skills and support needed for our children to succeed and thrive in the 21st Century. Her most recent books, The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow and Jumping Into Kindergarten, introduce the fundamentally important concept of QI Skills and convey the powerful role parents, educators, and other caring responsive adults play in children’s healthy development during their foundational first 5 years.


4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
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Before the virus, more than a billion children and teenagers relied upon school for learning. After the virus (or, after the current wave of our current virus), basic assumptions about school and education are no longer reliable. School buildings may become unsafe for large numbers of students. The tax base may no longer support our current approach to school. Without the interaction provided by a formal school structure, students may follow their own curiosity. Many students now possess the technology to learn on their own. And many do not.

Reinventing.school is a new weekly web television series that considers what happens next week, next month, next school year, and the next five years. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania Senior Scholar Howard Blumenthal, Reinventing.school features interviews with teachers, principals, school district leadership, state and Federal government officials, ed-tech innovators, students, leading education professors, authors, realists and futurists from the United States and all over the world.

Each episode features 2-4 distinguished guests in conversation about high priority topics including, for example, the teaching of public health, long-term home schooling, technology access and its alternatives, the role of parents, friendship and social interaction, learning outside the curriculum, the future of testing and evaluation, interruption as part of the academic calendar, job security for teachers and support staff, setting (and rethinking) curriculum priorities, special needs, student perspectives on the job of school, the importance of play, the psychology of group dynamics and social interaction, preparing for future rounds of a virus (or cyberattack or impact of climate change, etc.), college readiness, higher education transformed, the higher education promise in an economically challenged world, and more. Clearly, there is much to discuss; nearly all of it ranks high on the list of priorities for raising the world’s children.