Friday, November 6, 2015

Change: Hard or Uncomfortable? (Week 1)

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - The Purpose of Education

Week 1 TaskPrepare for the Week 2 session by watching the video "What 60 Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills".

The rate of change in the world demands that we re-imagine and restructure the foundational learning relationship among students, teachers, and knowledge. In September 2012, pursuing a decades-long passion for transformational education, Grant packed up his Prius and set off on a solo, nationwide research tour to discover what schools are doing to prepare students for an evolving future.

We are on a journey to disrupt...

Bad news:
Schools are not very good at innovation. Schools are not ready to take risks. They struggle with change and innovation.
Good news:
For every problem you encounter, there is a school right down the road who have solved that particular problem even though they have another problem.
Institutional change is really hard. Change in most of our schools is uncomfortable, it’s complicated, it’s messy. Look deeply inside and think about the difference between hard and uncomfortable and get beyond that. Schools are becoming dynamic, noisy and messy. Empathy is embedded in our goals and we're taking the time to think about bounds between constant innovation and strengths and cores of tradition that make us strong. Schools are becoming creative spaces.

What good performing schools have in common is that they are: 
Adaptive, Permeable, Relevant, Self-correcting, Dynamic, Creative 

These are the characteristics and drivers of a natural ecosystem, the same characteristics and drivers that determine the success or failure of a choral reef, rain forest, grass land or a pond. They are fundamentally different than the drivers and characteristics of our current and past industrial age model.

One of the real frustrations is that we keep trying to put that square peg of the industrial age model into the round circle of the ecosystem that we know represents great learning.

Right now we are living through the explosion of the 'Cognitosphere' (the system of knowledge creation and management). This is the network that our schools, teachers, students have to participate in and be active in, because this is how we are going to connect in the world going forward as we are a knowledge based industry.

Where do we want to be as educators? What is great learning look like? Dewey (who believed that students should be involved in real-life tasks and challenges) and Montessori told us what it looks like.

Three things to keep us from getting back to Dewey:
  1. Adults have conducted a series of anchors, based on ego (my time, my space/classroom and my subject) and our control or intent to control education, rather than that being controlled by the students. 
  2. Dams we build by beating out innovation and creativity and then putting students into packets of time, space and subject. 
  3. Silos that we constructed around ourselves prohibit us and keep us from communicating, collaborating, networking which are the key to innovation and change.
When schools break these three things down, innovation is exploding.

What do we have to do in this time of rapid change?
  • Teach into the unknown (which is difficult, messy, uncomfortable and unfamiliar)
  • Self-evolving learners (we don't know the skills student will need in their future so we need to teach them to meet challenges in their 'future world')
  • Self-evolving organizations (in order for us to teach students to be self-evolving learners we need to embrace constant change)

What is education innovation?
Preparing our students for their future, not our past.

Challenge for us:
We have to stop talking so much about what great learning and great education looks like and just start doing it by aggressively start to implement innovation in our schools. We should not wait for another generation of students to miss out on great learning opportunities and engagement that we know define great learning.

~ ... if we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow..." 
- John Dewey ~

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