How to Implement Education Transformation
by Caireen Goddard and Lasse Leponiemi
“We will not end this crisis by simply doing more of the same, faster or better. Now is the time to transform education systems,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his opening remarks at the first time in history Transforming Education Summit.
Guterres was referring to the global learning crisis that had worsened even before the pandemic. As of 2022, an estimated 70 per cent of all 10-year-olds cannot understand a simple written text. Education systems worldwide leave many children behind in learning as they progress in schooling.
At the same time, education is the key to reaching almost all individual, social, environmental, and economic goals. By solving the education and learning crisis, we solve many other prevalent problems, such as climate change, poverty, equity, and mental health.
Education system transformation is more relevant than ever. Based on this shared understanding and the urgent need for action, many global and national agendas prioritise education system transformation.
Yet, the question of how remains. The United Nations asked governments to host national consultations to revisit education’s purposes and develop a shared vision, commitment, and alignment of action. But what is needed to bridge the gap between abstract top-level commitments and implementation on the classroom level?
Bridging the gap between abstract commitments and classroom level
HundrED has been working on this question for the past seven years. The Finland-based global organisation discovers and shares impactful innovations in K12 education. Through identifying, amplifying, and facilitating the implementation of education innovations, HundrED continues to contribute to transforming education systems so that all students can thrive in school and beyond.
HundrED recently published the 2023 global collection, which identifies 100 of the most impactful innovations and trends in education. 188 Academy Members consisting of academics, educators, innovators, funders, leaders, and students from 113 countries reviewed a shortlist of innovations. The Academy made a total of 3,488 reviews based on impact and scalability, which was evaluated by HundrED’s Research Team, who selected the final collection.
Large parts of the identified trends and innovations interplay with the three drivers to transform education systems, as identified in A New Education Story. Together with global partners who share a commitment to reimagining education with and for young people, Big Change offered this provocation for conversation and action.
Both HundrED’s global collection and a New Education Story emphasise student agency – acting rather than being acted upon and shaping rather than being shaped – as one of the key drivers and trends for transformation.
HundrED summarises: “Innovations focused on student agency strive to put students in the driver’s seat of their own education, recognising student agency is closely connected to student motivation, wellbeing and the sense of meaning and purpose that children make of their learning. Student agency develops through hands-on learning.”
Moreover, many of the identified innovations align with the actions identified in A New Education Story. Below are nine innovations that closely tie to the three actions nested within the driver “Practice” – Unlock innovation by enabling those working in education to create and share learning innovations with the greatest potential to transform the system.
Unlocking innovations with the greatest potential for transformation
Make learning more learner-centred
India’s education system is built around academic outcomes, with narrow definitions of success. When the learner is at the centre, they the focus for transformation, wherever that learner comes from and whatever system they are in. acSELerate puts students at the centre through an evidence-based, systemic model of teacher development & support, a social-emotional learning curriculum, school support, parent engagement and impact assessment. Established in 2016, acSELerate has impacted 175,000 children so far.
|Educating for Wellbeing|
In México, 50% of children live in poverty. Moreover, socioeconomic status fuels cycles of inequality and violence. Education for Wellbeing aims to break these cycles by fostering learning environments that act as protective barriers and put students in the centre. Founded in 2011 and impacting 419,000 children so far, Educating for Wellbeing trains educators to improve their own social-emotional competence and well-being, foster social-emotional learning in students and implement systemic change.
|Join for Joy|
Children in the rural areas of East Africa often don’t come to school. Further systemic challenges, such as child marriage and early pregnancies, contribute to high drop-out rates. Join for Joy puts the learners at the centre by training primary school teachers to implement sports and play activities into the curriculum of local schools. Through playful learning, children learn about essential topics such as (in)equality & develop life skills such as respect, self-confidence, and assertiveness. Founded in 2011, Join for Joy is active in five countries and has impacted 530,000 learners so far.
Integrate new ways to assess and recognise learning
|WestEd’s Formative Insights|
Equity requires learner agency. Learner agency is manifest when students learn skills of self-regulation and metacognition. More than any other strategy, formative assessment strengthens these skills during daily instruction. Formative assessment is the process by which, during the course of instruction, teachers and students gather and interpret evidence of student learning and plan the next steps to meet intended learning goals. WestEd develops professional learning in formative assessment at scale to reimagine the student role in assessment, thereby improving agency, promoting learning and advancing equity. Based in the United States, WestEd has impacted 7,500 children in two countries so far.
|Being a Proactive Teacher in Formative Assessment|
Assessment can transform education systems because it affects the learning opportunities that are available to students. In Kazakhstan, formative assessment has been part of curriculum reform. Yet, new forms of assessment have not found entry into many classroom practices as they often appear to conflict with the existing beliefs and experiences of teachers. Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools addresses teachers’ knowledge of formative assessment into real action for the child’s best interest. A detailed framework and twenty-four proactive cards have been developed to help teachers plan and hold lessons focused on various elements of formative assessment strategies. Founded in 2018, Being a Proactive Teacher in Formative Assessment has impacted 15,000 learners so far.
Qridi is a Finland-based formative evaluation and learning analytics software with a focus on continuous assessment, learner self-reflection, and learning analytics. Developed in collaboration with teachers and learners. Learning is planned and monitored under the teacher’s guidance, future skills are strengthened, and personal strengths are identified. The learning journey is recorded and made visible with the help of different functionalities. The resulting data acts as an instrument for dialogue in learning. Founded in Finland, Qridi has impacted more than 70,000 children in 10 countries.
Strengthen the link between learning science and teaching practice
EIDU has set out to create the most efficient self-learning app for preschool children, adapt and distribute it to improve learning outcomes on a global scale. EIDU has built a technology-supported education program enabling the integration, assessment and continuous improvement of its learning components. EIDU combines an open digital platform with Tayari, one of the most impactful and robustly evaluated structured pedagogy programs for pre-primary that is play-based, child-centred and fosters active learning. Established in 2015, 94,000 have so far used EIDU.
Traditional learning models, with their standardised approaches still focus on a schooling paradigm well past its use-by date. Learnlife creates an open ecosystem to reshape learning. Building on the latest aggregated research and site visits on over 100 of the most innovative schools worldwide, Learnlife offers evidence-based solutions for individuals, communities and organisations. Learnlife offers two physical Learnhubs in Barcelona & an online Home Hub that connects learners from around the world. Established in 2017, Learnlife has impacted 2,500 children across seven countries.
Traditional math teaching has proved to be ineffective for many students. Operating in Spain, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico, Innovamat transforms math classrooms by offering a research-based mathematical curriculum created by didactics and mathematics experts. Innovamat transforms the teaching and learning experience for educators and learners in Mathematics. Since 2017, more than 1,200 centres and 12,000 teachers have trusted Innovamat to teach mathematics to more than 220,000 learners.
HundrED and Big Change are steering in a similar direction
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us to radically transform education,” U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told reporters ahead of the education summit at U.N. headquarters in New York. With the Transforming Education Summit over, real work starts to happen. Whether the Summit will lead to global action to transform education systems has yet to be shown, with innovators, educators, and students playing a vital role.
Our organisations share a commitment to support stakeholders in transforming the education system. Whether it’s through shining a light on the most impactful innovations or a new £1m prize fund to support bold ideas to transform learning in the UK – we will continue with our work until every child can thrive.
HundrED is a global mission-driven organisation specialising in education innovation, dedicated to helping every child flourish by giving them access to quality education. HundrED identifies, amplifies, and facilitates the implementation of impactful and scalable education innovations.
Big Change‘s vision is to see a society where all young people are set up to thrive in life, not just exams. As a charity based in the UK, we act as a catalyst to transform education and learning. We work in partnership to understand, advocate for and unlock support for transformation, working at the grassroots and the grasstops, locally, nationally and globally. In the UK we run the Big Education Challenge – a £1m prize fund to support and reward bold ideas with the potential to transform education and learning, and nationally and globally, the Big Education Conversation, which supports inclusive conversations about the purpose of education in order to shape a new vision and ideas for change.