Recently, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with a group whose work has the most transformative potential I’ve encountered in 39 years of being an educator. The Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations (QISA) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and putting into practice the 8 Conditions that foster student aspirations in schools and learning communities around the world. QISA tells us “when students have high aspirations, they have the ability to dream about the future, while being inspired in the present to reach those dreams.” I’ve been asked to help guide QISA in making sure that everyone working to foster student aspirations is fully served by the best technology can offer.
These 8 Conditions (pictured above) need to be in place if students are to strive for, and fulfill, their academic, personal and social promise. Based on more than two decades of research, these Conditions emphasize relationships, engaged learning, and students’ sense of purpose. The journey I’ve now undertaken is to discover and develop how these 8 Conditions can best work online.
Designing online learning environments which both support and harness the power of these conditions is critical, if we are to succeed in the new era of Common Core State Standards, with its focus on College & Career Readiness. This transition requires both students and teachers to tackle and succeed with work that is more challenging than ever before. The energy unleashed by tapping into aspirations is exactly what’s required to fuel these higher levels of performance.