Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Bulgarian Students Imagine the Dream School of their Future

August 17th, 2011

When Rita J. King and I launched "IMAGINATION: Creating the Future of Education & Work" earlier this year we made a decision not to release it as a book or a report, despite the 24,000 words that were written during our 18 months of research. As much as we love books, we realized that our audience would be best served if we took the digital culture on its own terms. So we rewrote the project and recast it as a website. As Rita J. King wrote in the introduction, we were going to try something new:
Rather than publishing results as a book or white paper, both of which are one-sided approaches to a subject that demands a conversation, an interactive site was chosen as the format.

This site doesn’t just present theories and ideas, but rather actionable solutions that can be immediately and easily implemented in service of a relevant education for American students who need to gain proficiency if not mastery of core subject areas while at the same time being prepared for the reality of future work. Imagination is a broad topic, encompassing everything the mind can conjure, so the findings in this report are focused on those that overlap with the changing world of work.

And so it was with great delight that we read the below letter we received from Elena Stateva a high school teacher in Bulgaria, who used the IMAGINATION website as a part of her curriculum, challenging her students to IMAGINE their dream school of the future. In Elena's words "Inspired by the "Creating Future Today" initiative, they imagined and constructed schools from words, challenging the accepted conventions during their summer school Philosophy classes."

We're publishing the student's ideas with permission below.

Creators: Radoslav Asparuhov, Daniel Rashin

Just a Dream is a school made of technologies, but not only about technology. It places a very high value on the potential of technology to transform the ways we see education. As full-fledged citizens of our dynamic modernity, students at Just a Dream are extensively trained how to use technology in the most innovative and effective way. For example, sculptures and other three-dimensional figures are created on computers, thus enabling students to develop their spatial and analytical intelligences. Top-notch technological innovations render the school one of the pioneers of knowmadic thinking.

Furthermore, Just a Dream gives students the crucial opportunity to have a practical go at their field. Relevant internships at successful companies are provided to each student, through a wide a range of sponsors. The sponsorship by highly acclaimed names in the business makes it possible for the students to go to school and use their modern facilities practically for free. In fact, these companies often recruit graduates from Just a Dream as the most prepared professionals.
In addition, Just a Dream is a school which recognizes extracurricular activities, within and outside the professional field, as essential to students’ academic and personal growth. Therefore, school trips are regularly organized, featuring exciting destinations in the country and abroad.

Creators: Victoria Ivanova, Magdalena Kostadinova, Blagovest Pilarski

My Dream School is a unique institution, notable for its out-of-the-box, ground-breaking philosophy. Using a student-centered approach, which values what really is best for the student (and not for the administration, for example), My Dream School incorporates a wide range of fundamental practices. Combining the arts and technologies, students experience a comprehensive headstart to their professional careers. All subjects are taught in a way, which does not stifle student’s ideas, but on the contrary – encourages students to have their own opinion. Thus, My Dream School stimulates its student body to be active citizens, able to think critically about the world around them, instead of following blindly the leaders of today.
Moreover, My Dream School defines the term “revolutionary”, with its grade-less system and robotized teacher collective. Originating from the notion of boosting motivation internally (as opposed to externally, which is often the case), My Dream School has removed assessment completely, allowing its scholars to pursue knowledge itself, and not just good grades. The replacement of teachers by robots has further contributed to the establishment of an objective, knowledge- and skill-oriented classroom, free of discrimination and favoritism. Thus, students can learn in a safe, conflict-free and thought- provoking environment.

In addition, My Dream School puts great emphasis on the connection between learning and nature. During the weekends, students can enjoy environmental activities, such as hiking in the mountains, which build up mind and body together. The beautiful parks surrounding the school are themselves a source of relaxation, inspiration and energy.

Creators: Elena Kehayova, Dafina Nedeva

The name of this school – Art School – already speaks a lot about its fundamental values. And yet, the Art School is much more than a school about art. It is a school where students go not only to grow in the direction of their talent, but where they actually find their talent and grow as a whole person. At Art School only the core subjects are obligatory – Literature, Math, Foreign Languages. The other subjects are a matter of preference: each student has the right to choose every part of their education. This freedom allows the students to explore their interests, inclinations and talents, to strengthen them or create them. Creativity – this is the key word which this school emanates through all its elements – from its facilities, to its curriculum, and of course – its teachers. The teaching collective is distinguished with its sharp eye to talent, broad mind for creativity and liberal view on individuality.

In addition to its exceptional creativity, Art School prides itself with a policy which preserves equality and prevents discrimination. Everybody at Art School is regarded equally, as an equal member of the school community.

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Categories: bulgaria, edtech, imagination age, STEM

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