Intentional Learning: Make a Difference in the World

Today’s technology 

enables a new generation exposed to more knowledge capable of making a difference in the world.

 

All learning should be made visible and concrete as it is designed to be. It happens as teachers, institutions, government, students and parents (as stakeholders) create the conditions that facilitate the unfolding of human potential.



Until recently these stakeholders have been unbalanced; governments, teachers, institutions designed learning (active) for students (passive). We have begun the path towards a balanced learning where the voice of the students captures the same level of influence as other stakeholders had (not without a shock to the incumbents).





In Plato’s Republic

In Plato’s Republic, those who thought about things were elevated to the pinnacle of society, while those who made things were positioned at the bottom of the society.

As we strive to find more solutions in entrepreneurship (ges2016) and educate the founders generation, we have to get rid of these polarizing ideas and give ways to and environment for inclusion with a clear value of both abilities in balance.

Learning is a permanent evolution, a natural human development that requires a culture of inquiry as much as a culture of action.

For centuries, being able to question or inquire the one knowledgeable source (teacher) was almost impossible.



Today’s technology



Today’s technology allows for students to be exposed to knowledge and information, our ability to express, to question, to doubt and to invent is unprecedented.



But learning is still about the intention of embracing not only the richness of possibilities, but integrating the complexity of options and the overwhelming challenges of “getting it right”. 
Designing learning requires a clear definition of boundaries and limitations as much as an environment for space and freedom.

This is the nature of learning, both vulnerable and powerful at the same time.

Just as it is our human nature.



Realizing learning starts from an ideal that has to live in the real world.

Is a compound of rational, ideal and pragmatic inquiry?

Constituted on reflective and critical thinking, productive action and responsible follow through.



When we embrace intentional learning we have to assemble a culture that is broad in scope as much as deep in meaning and utility. The process of learning is the most effective and efficient path of getting individuals to new places.



Here is where learning meets leadership.

Today teacher leaders demand the ability to act based on an overwhelming amount of insufficient information within uncertain and many times conflictive or ambiguous limits and resources.



Intentional learning is based on the notion of reflections and substance. Where form and content collide, teaching great content with no form is as dangerous as using great form to learn no substance. Just a few years ago content beat form 9 out of 10. This is how the world is changing.



Before integrating technologies into learning, we have to change our mental models. We need a new mindset to unify the experience of learning in the XXI Century.



Our models need both an Ontological perspective (inquiry into the nature of real things) and Epistemological perspective (inquiry into how we learn about things).



Unlike scientific models, learning is a representation of a path within a cloud of possibilities, under a dynamic process that moves between convergence and divergence.

It is a process that brings things into existence (ideas), whose outcomes are the consequence of human judgement and application. 

Human development was based for centuries about discovering, today is much more about designing.

In the past, observation dominated imagination, today we are entering a more purpose driven approach to learning, we are educating the founders generation, prime creators of their own reality.

Next- Theory and practice, or thinking and doing and This generation

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About the author

Fernando Valenzuela

Fernando is currently head of Aspen Institute education program in Mexico and Partner at Global Impact Edtech Alliance. He was formerly President McGraw-Hill Education, Latin America. He is a recognized senior executive, entrepreneur, speaker and board level leader with international background.  He has founded and led successful enterprises in Latin America for over 25 years. He holds a Degree in Computer Science from the Universidad Iberoamericana, and an MBA in International Business by the University of Miami. Active member of Wharton Fellows, ENOVA Network of Latin America CEOs, Center for Hemispheric Policy and Council of the Americas, and board member at Inroads.  He was most recently President at Cengage Learning / National Geographic Learning Latin America and founder of LINNEA the First Laboratory for Innovation in Learning Experiences in Latin America. There Fernando lead the transformation of the educational models and creating high value learning experiences by engaging students with technology. 

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