When I think back through my varied career as an educator, I can’t help but be transported back to my career as a student in the 80s and 90s. I had my share of challenges with traditional school. That’s probably the biggest reason I felt a calling to teach in the first place. I needed the same thing that our students need today: adults who respond to the evolving needs of youth and the realities of the time.
Before the Digital Age, it felt like change would slowly creep up on us, even tapping us on the shoulder to let us know it was coming. Now, after the advent of the internet and all that goes with it, change always seems to be one step ahead of us. Our students, now more than ever, need adults to coalesce around ideas that bring the future into the spaces where students spend the majority of their young lives. Our students need changemakers.
Our students need us to transform school.
School can keep up, and education can push us forward. A K-12 education in America doesn’t have to be traditional or outdated. We can build learning spaces that not only bring the future into the now, but also equip, empower, and activate our youth to purposefully build a better future for themselves. We can do this work everywhere.
So what is the secret to making change that sticks? Ed Farm may not have all the answers, but we know we have hit upon one of them: when forward thinking leadership of a school system partners with an innovative tech start up, magical things can happen. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to simply bring out the best of what’s already brewing within a school community. At Ed Farm, we are partners for educators who want to evolve.
When I revisit my time in school, I realize that learning spaces roughly matched the needs of the day, or so we thought. We didn’t have handheld devices or laptops, and we didn’t have Wi-Fi. There was no real recognition that the internet might reinvent our society, and there was certainly no talk of a Metaverse, augmented reality, or any of the other innovations that promise to continually reinvent us. My teachers were not preparing me for a hyper-connected economy or a world that truly rewards art, uniqueness, innovation, and problem solving. Most educators then didn’t see this new world coming.
We see it now and it’s on us to collaborate, create, and respond.
Ed Farm Spaces is a customized, turnkey solution designed to inspire. An Ed Farm Space adapts to the learners and communities it serves while also creating the ideal environment to support future thinking, coding, content creation, and the agency to cultivate change. At Ed Farm, we are dedicated to building these spaces in the schools and communities who need them most.
On Friday, March 25, 2022, Birmingham City Schools, in collaboration with Ed Farm, will launch South Hampton K8 School’s Library of Innovation. The day to day and moment to moment support and collaboration between these organizations has been the key to making the space a reality. The ribbon-cutting will showcase the goals and capabilities of the space, Ed Farm programming, and the forward thinking desires of the students, educators, and leadership of South Hampton K-8 and Birmingham City Schools. Perhaps the most inspiring part of the opening event will be those that are leading it – the students. Whether you are there in person or streaming on Facebook Live, we hope to blow your mind.
However, if you really want your mind blown, just watch what the school community can do with this space in the days ahead.
Daniel Whitt - Learning Innovations Director