The information and ideas on this website will be continually updated and revised.
Please come back regularly to see the changes, additions, and modifications and to view additional items.
Welcome to this Era 3 Learning website.
The premise of this website is that we need a new mission and a new set of practices for educating our children in this 21st century, "Era 3" world! This page of the website provides a brief overview and description of a new Era 3 world and some of the key ideas for educating children in this new era.
What is an Era 3 world?
There are three major eras of United States (and global) history...
•Era 1 consisted primarily of an agricultural world;
•Era 2 consisted of a predominantly industrial order;
•Era 3 is the current, third major era, with an explosion of and unprecedented access to information and knowledge, a socially and globally networked world, search engines and computer technology, robots and automation, millions more in the global job market, interdependent economies, multiple values and opinions, complex citizenship issues, a shift from brawn based careers to mind based careers, a complex job market, and an often confusing, uncertain and rapidly changing world.
A one page overview of Eras 1-3 and the Era 3 implications for educating in the 21st century can be downloaded here.
What is the mission of education in an Era 3 world?
How can we make certain that our graduating high school students are ready for an Era 3 world? We believe that the primary mission of education in an Era 3 world is to prepare students for college, career, citizenship and "life" through three major outcomes:
•preparation for continuous, lifelong, self-directed learning;
•preparation for intelligent, informed citizenship;
•self-development and self-understanding.
How do we accomplish this new mission?
Success in meeting and measuring these outcomes will not occur through the current approaches to education, such as the use of standardized test scores and traditional tests to measure success; an early childhood emphasis on teaching discrete reading, language arts and math skills; cutbacks to enrichment programs and the arts; and fragmented, “coverage”, textbook based instruction in the upper grades.
Reaching and assessing these three critical outcomes will happen with a "learning-centered" approach that:
•Is focused around a mission statement with meaningful, clear "Era 3" student outcomes, that is accepted and adopted by the school community;
•Builds core networks of background knowledge, concepts and understandings in all subject areas;
•Develops five skill sets: curiosity development, information literacy, thoughtfulness, application and communication;
•Creates success-oriented, motivating school organizations, cultures and learning environments;
•Designs assessments built around individual portfolios of student work, focused around era 3 learning outcomes, that include multiple types of student work, such as background knowledge and conceptual understandings tests, essays, research papers, poems and other writings, extended performance tasks and project results, and self-reflections;
•Uses engaging instructional strategies and formative assessments that promote Era 3 goals and emphasize interactive learning, inquiry, problem and project-based learning, and provide constructive feedback;
•Develops many student options and choices that promote individual growth and development, through open-ended classroom activities, many electives, enrichment experiences, internships, support systems for those who need it, and theme-based program options.
•Creates authentic student connections to the outside world, through field trips, authentic tasks, community service, expert interviews, student surveys, internships, and community-school connections;
•Supports professional learning opportunities focused around the implementation of Era 3 education programs and practices.
Download here a more detailed four page overview of the qualities of an Era 3 world, an Era 3 education mission statement, the five relevant Era 3 skill sets, and a set of Era 3 educational characteristics that help to implement the mission.
•Download here a set of ten key questions, focused around Era 3 educational qualities, that will help to determine how well a classroom, school or district is doing in developing and implementing an Era 3 mission and outcomes.
•High Tech High schools, a mix of elementary, middle and high schools located in San Diego, California, are one example of Era 3 schools. They use a powerful Era 3 schooling paradigm that incorporates many of the qualities listed above. To learn more about the High Tech High way of thinking about education and schooling, and their integrated, problem and project based approach to teaching and learning, go to
Changing the Subject video, and/or read about their approach in this
Changing the Subject blog.
For further insights into an Era 3 education…
•The About Era 3 Learning page has a more in-depth description of the five relevant Era 3 skill sets, along with their implications for educational practice. The page also describes how American schools can be analyzed to determine how well they meet Era 3 characteristics, along with examples and models of specific Era 3 schools-programs.
•The resources page provides additional articles, readings, booklists, and other resources for understanding and implementing an Era 3 education.
•The weblinks page provides links to other websites that support Era 3 learning goals.
•Browse the blog page for blog commentarites and links to excellent education blog websites and commentaries.
•Go to the contact page to send us your questions, suggestions, or comments about this website.