Wickliffe administrators, teachers, parents and students' hard work has been documented in a new book about the learning process.

Wickliffe administrators, teachers, parents and students' hard work has been documented in a new book about the learning process.

"The Ohio Visible Learning Project: Stories from Wickliffe Progressive Community School," documents the school's seven-year collaboration with Harvard researchers on the Making Learning Visible project.

Making Learning Visible began under the Harvard Project Zero educational research group, which has a mission to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines.

Wickliffe received a $250,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education in 2005 to fund the project, as well as a 2008 dissemination grant that funded the publishing of the book and an upcoming DVD. The book and DVD are both available, for free, to Ohio educators through Wickliffe school.

Retired Wickliffe principal Fred Burton originally envisioned the project after participating in conferences hosted by Project Zero and the Reggio Institute. Burton retired in 2008 but has remained connected to the project, editing the book and developing the DVD.

"How do you make a school that, by all rights is already excellent, even better? That was what I had to find the answer to," Burton said. "This project captures moments of learning that can then be shared back with the learners themselves and the teachers, creating an opportunity to deepen learning. So part of what we had to figure out was how to actually capture learning in a documentable way."

One way that current Wickliffe principal Chris Collaros captured these moments was through audio and video recordings of sessions with his teaching staff.

"I applied the process to my teacher observations," Collaros said. "As soon as I walk out of a classroom I have an audio or video recording of the lesson. Instead of notes that only include my perspective, and take time to compile, I can provide the teachers an immediate, unfiltered version of the lesson."

Collaros said that the new process gives teachers an active role in understanding what they can do to improve and provides him with a chance to understand his own questions to help him ask better questions in the future.

The visible learning process is being used not just by teachers and administrators, but with students and parents as well, according to Wickliffe teacher Sabrina Walters.

"As teachers, this has been our chance to do what we ask our kids to do everyday, working in collaboration and being challenged to keep finding new ways to share our knowledge and get better," Walters said. "I'm so proud of this project, and then to write a book that involved parents volunteering to write chapters and make revision after revision to meet deadlines, it was inspiring."

One requirement of the dissemination grant included presenting the research at a statewide conference, which took place recently at the Columbus Museum of Art's new Center for Creativity. Burton, Collaros and Walters are continuing to look for ways to expand the reach of the project, both within Wickliffe and beyond.

"I'm currently working with the Columbus schools and the Center for Creativity to look for ways to use what we learned across our area schools, in the arts and in business," Burton said. "There is no reason this should end with Wickliffe. These teachers and parents that participated are both great teachers and learners, so even without any other plans, this project will continue to live and expand through them."