13. Using Place to Engage in Competency-Based Learning with Nate McClennen

We know children learn better when they’re involved in both the learning process and in making decisions about what and how to learn. That’s one of the things that makes place-based learning so powerful: that students can immerse themselves in the local economy, the culture and the outdoors to learn anytime and anywhere.

Today’s conversation with Teton Science Schools’ Nate McClennen explores the importance of place-based learning and how to keep students involved and engaged as they discover they can truly make a difference in the world.

We also talk about equity, something that is on a lot of educators’ minds right now–and needs to remain there. Tune in to this important and valuable conversation about real learning and assessment, using learning standards in competency-based learning and how to keep our teenagers engaged in their own education.

About Nate McClennen
Nate McClennen is the Head of Innovation at Teton Science Schools (TSS) in Jackson, Wyoming. His work focuses on how to scale the impact of place-based education through technology, innovation, design learning, rural education, and school networks. He was part of the founding faculty at Journeys School from 2001-2006 and was Head of Journeys School from 2006 – 2015. Since 1993, he has taught science, technology, robotics, and math at the secondary and university level. He serves as an adjunct faculty of the Teacher Learning Center at Teton Science Schools, implementing teacher-workshops nationally and internationally. As the director of the Place Network initiative, Nate is supporting the launch of a national network of rural place-based K-12 schools.

Jump Through the Conversation

  • [1:16] What is place-based education
  • [2:16] More about Teton
  • [3:08] Learning is “anytime/anywhere” sinkhole example
  • [6:39] Agency, community, and equity drive Place-Based Learning
  • [9:56] Community: Every learner belongs and feels a part of the community
  • [10:33] Equity: Every student deserves to experience incredible learning in their K-12 experience
  • [12:45] Authentic assessment beyond the written and talked curriculum to what is truly learned
  • [16:35] How to measure competencies, outside of your typical stand-alone assessment
  • [ 22:50] Why don’t we give credit for mastering competencies–even if it is on the soccer field?
  • [24:07] Nate’s Magic Wand: Eliminate artificial constraints we’ve created in the traditional education model. Shifting engagement of students leaving high school from 20-30% to 70-100% so our students graduate feeling like their learning was relevant, they had a voice, and they can make a difference
  • [26:15] The positive impact COVID has had on our schools
  • [29:00] Maureen’s takeaways
  • [29:47] Sticky learning (teachable moments)

For complete show notes and more, go to https://educationevolution.org/13

Maureen O’Shaughnessy, EdD

Maureen O’Shaughnessy, EdD, is a career school innovator with over 30 years transforming learning in schools to better serve students. She is the founding director of Leadership Preparatory Academy, a progressive micro-school in Washington State, and is an educational change agent across the globe.

James Hamilton Healy

James Hamilton Healy is a Best Selling Author, host of Business Innovators Radio and contributor to Small Business Trendsetters and Business Innovators Magazine covering Influencers, Innovators and Trendsetters in Business, Health, Finance and Personal Development.