Welcome to Learning Lab

Welcome to Learning Lab

As experiments, reforms and new educational models roll out through Massachusetts schools, it’s likely that what happens in classrooms today and tomorrow will inform how students are educated years from now.

This is a turning point moment for education, Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone said, speaking recently at the release of the Rennie Center‘s report, Condition of Education in the Commonwealth.

“We are shaping the future rather than letting it shape us,” he said.

But who is shaping it?

Increasingly, it’s people outside the system as well as in it.

It’s the mother who starts a non-profit to fund an arts program at her son’s elementary school and then receives grants to grow the program to other schools. The technologists and entrepreneurs working in 240 education startups in Boston. And the bank-foundations that offer investment portfolios for education, pouring money into select programs at select schools.

It’s also the principals lobbying for grants. The teachers fundraising for classroom materials in online forums. And the district administrators pushing and pulling to get state and federal resources where they need to be.

This is where Learning Lab lives, exploring those new ideas, the money behind them, and their impact on our most valuable asset — our children.

More than just a blog or a radio series, Learning Lab builds resources and tools to better understand and take part in conversations about education reform– whether you are a parent, educator, non-profit CEO, tech start-up founder, administrator, researcher, investor or policy maker.

As Learning Lab editor, I’ll be working out of the WBUR newsroom — connecting you with the stories, data, and tools that will help you understand, talk about, and make important decisions. It will be a team effort between you, me, our technologist Chris Amico and the WBUR news staff.

I began my journalism career as an education reporter and Learning Lab, for me, is a welcome opportunity to return to the classrooms, playgrounds, school board meetings, and more, where I first thrived. I bring to the beat an open notebook approach, making publicly available as much of my source material as possible. Sections of Learning Lab show this already; take a look through our Documents Library for school report cards from every school in BPS, our Schools Map for school locations, and our Calendar for upcoming events. As Learning Lab grows, these resources will grow, too.

I invite– and encourage– you to join me in this coverage and conversation. Take part by participating in our comments threads, following us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Submit a guest column to Learning Lab about your experiences and ideas with experimentation in Massachusetts schools.

Learning Lab launches today in Boston, but we’ll be adding school districts throughout the year. As we expand we’ll be relying on you to help us grow the conversation. Share what you know, what you see, and what you think. Together we will build conversation, common understanding, and change.

Keep in touch. Email or give me a call at 617-358-0807.

Learning Lab is made possible with grants from The Knight Foundation and The Boston Foundation.