Ideas in Education Series

What is the Ideas in Education series?

Earlier this year RSA Fellows across the South Central region were challenged to propose ideas (and host events) that they believe can change education for the better. 

The response was impressive.  Starting in June and finishing in December - we have a brilliant mix of unique and interesting ideas to be explored at events spanning the region, on subjects from the slow education movement to play in early years education and the intersection between architecture and education. 

Each will have the same format and same aim but will be unique. Each event will:

  • focus on one idea and aim to develop and promote new (or not so new) ways of thinking about education
  • challenge Fellows and guests to produce innovative ways of using the presented idea in their own lives, workplaces and networks
  • give Fellows and guests the opportunity to meet and connect with other Fellows in the South Central network

All events are free and open to Fellows and friends so please bring any guests you think would be interested.  Register now.

The events

The idea: The Slow School Movement
Wednesday 12th June, 6.30pm
Wotton House, Eton College, Windsor, SL4 6EJ

First up in the series is the Slow School Movement with Mike Grenier FRSA, Housemaster at Eton College.

The Slow School Movement (SSM) looks to build on ideas that have been part of the cultural and educational mainstream for many centuries but seem to have been lost in a modern, outcome-obsessed form of processing that passes for schooling.

Building on the Italian concept of the Slow Food Movement, and taking into account American, British, Asian and European educational practice, as well as recent insights into psychology and well-being, the SSM offers models that are valuable for students and schools of all ages and backgrounds.

This event has now taken place. Read about The Slow School Movement event here.

The idea: Supporting Social Mobility
Thursday 12 September 2013, 6.30pm
Leadership and Training Centre, Shenley Brook End School, Wallbank Grove, Milton Keynes, MK5 7ZT

Passing exams is not enough. Using their recent research and current case-studies, Lesley King FRSA and Tom Welch FRSA discuss the challenges as well as the opportunities afforded by social mobility for the students involved.  

They'll also suggest ways in which the home, school and wider community might support upwardly mobile students on their journey.

This event has taken place. Read about the event on the RSA Blogs and download the slides from the presentation. Find out more about Shenley Brook End school.

The idea: Conserving Creativity in Early Years
Thursday 17 October 2013, 6.30pm
Jelly ArtPad, 42 Market Place, Reading, RG1 2DE

Kathryn Solly FRSA will discuss the future of high quality early years education.

Quality play and learning in the maintained early years sector are at risk. Our future citizens, who learn through high quality play indoors and out, are beginning with limited horizons. Our future engineers, artists, lawyers, scientists and entrepreneurs will lack their broad base of interactive experience they develop through process based learning.
Froebel created the kindergarten to nurture high quality play and learning. If such opportunities are not available, what creative possibilities will we see in their future lives? How, in the 21st century, do we ensure the rich possibilities of play and the ideas sown by the pioneers such as Steiner, Montessori, McMillan, Isaacs and Froebel are furthered and put into practice? Join us for an engaging and interactive session on how to set about conserving and encouraging creativity and play in the early years curriculum.

Travelling to the venue: Jelly ArtPad are 5 mins walk from mainline Reading Train Station. There is no free parking in Reading and parking starts at £3 for minimum two hours stay in The Oracle Car Parks. The other nearest car park is Queens Road (slightly more expensive). Alternatively you can park and ride. Please note access is slightly limited -  8 stairs then a lift. Please contact the venue for further advice. 

This event has taken place. Read an RSA blog on the event, Conserving Creativity in the Early Years.

The idea: Building Learning Power
Wednesday 30 October 2013, times TBC
Venue: St Alphege Building, University of Winchester 

Dozens of countries agree that the Holy Grail of 21st Century education is the cultivation of certain vital 'character strengths' such as resilience, creativity and a collaborative spirit. The trick which no country has yet mastered is to do this in a way that also reliably builds literacy, numeracy and good examination grades. Research shows that merely tacking on courses in 'thinking skills' and the like doesn't cut it... so how is the Holy Grail to be achieved?

There are a few initiatives that are leading the way- of which one is Building Learning Power. Come and find out how it works, and what the evidence is, from its originator.

Guy Claxton FRSA is Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Winchester, and author of 'What's the Point of School?' and 'The Learning Powered School'. 

This event has now taken place but you can read about what happened in an RSA blog.

The idea: Revolutionising access to science and research through techology

Wednesday 6 November, 6.30pm
Venue: Portland Building, University of Portsmouth

Lab based experimentation has made up the backbone of scientific teaching for decades.

Asking students to follow a scientific 'process' or 'method', conjecturing a hypothesis, designing an experiment, collecting data and drawing conclusions is a standard approach. Yet nothing is more far removed from the research most scientists would recognise in their day-to-day work. In addition to being an unrealistic representation of scientific research, repeating experiments that have been completed by previous generations of students is rarely inspiring and has little connection to the real world.

Traditionally, breaking out of this model of pure lab experimentation would be extremely difficult for the majority of teachers, but technology today is revolutionising access to science and research in education settings. The internet and sites such as Wikipedia make information freely available.

Leading the way in opening up access to science and research to the public is the Zooniverse, a collection of online citizen science projects that began in 2008 with the galaxy classification project Galaxy Zoo. While designed to achieve science results, these projects are valuable classroom resources, allowing teachers and students to work with scientific data from a range of disciplines.

Join us to hear about the education tools and additional scaffolding the team is developing that will provide teachers with the opportunities to participate in real online experiments and discover exo-planets, measure sea creatures and explore the surface of Mars.

This event has taken place.

The idea:  Planning Educational Spaces 
Thursday 14 November, 6.30pm
Architecture PLB, St Thomas Street, Winchester SO23 9HD

Nick Mirchandani and Rupert Cook of Architecture PLB will compare the briefing of schools and universities to explore diverging trends in the commissioning of learning spaces.

More information coming soon.

The RSA is an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. With a 27,000-strong Fellowship exhibiting immeasurable amounts of knowledge, talent and skill, the best place to start is to share an idea.

This event has taken place.

The idea: DIY higher education in the global swamp?
Thursday 5th December, 6.30pm
BGS Architects, 274 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford

Alternatives to participation in conventional higher education are potentially greater and better than ever. What will the implications of emerging topography of higher education be, and how should the academy respond to the emergence of DIY education in the global swamp?

Join us for a panel debate to and group discussions on the future of higher education to round off the Ideas in Education series.

This event has taken place.