How are you thinking about the “package” we call “school?” #MVIFI

Do you ever wish you could choose the particular cable (or satellite) TV channels that you most want? Instead of having to buy the package service that comes with 361 channels or 902 channels, you could autonomously select, a la carte, the specific channels that you want to view.

Well, I’ve wanted to do that.

Listening to NPR’s Planet MoneyEpisode 488: The Secret History of Your Cable Bill” on a recent morning walk, I started to wonder how traditional school is like cable or satellite TV. Will student learners always have to “buy the entire package” of this class of math and that class of science, this class of English and that class of social studies? Or will we soon see student learners able to individualize their school subscription bundles?

It’s happened in music. We no longer have to purchase the entire album or CD. We can just buy the particular song we want and create our own playlists. It’s happened in news and broadcast journalism, and we now have the ability to create personal news stations and narrowcast our own story collections.

And it’s going to happen in schools. Well, it IS happening around schools. Think Khan Academy. Think Coursera and Udacity (Hat tip to EdSurge). Think Mozilla OpenBadges project. Think Juliette LaMontagne’s Breaker. Think Seth Godin’s Krypton Community College. Think of the future mashup of those ideas and ventures!

It’s highly likely that my 9 and 6 year-old sons will be able to autonomously aggregate courses and experiences (with badges and endorsements like on LinkedIn) and bundle their own “College Degree,” which I hope will include some residential, face-to-face relationship building in a particular physical community, too. (I imagine that it will.) But who knows?!

Learners entering MIT, Stanford, etc., will more and more be able to enter with NUMEROUS courses from those institutions already IN their digital portfolios. Will our schools require the seat-time, residential equivalents of those MOOCs? Or will they we build on the increased capacity that’s already been built when the learners reach them us?

How are you thinking about the way we package and bundle “school” in an age where people can increasingly pull and self-package the content-and-experience streams that best work for them, their passions, their interests, and their needs (with mentorship, of course!)?

4 thoughts on “How are you thinking about the “package” we call “school?” #MVIFI

  1. Bo,
    I love the analogy you make with the cable packages! What seems to be more and more true is that the students will push us there if we don’t get there first– why not partner with them now in their learning to personalize for them while, at the same time, incorporating fundamentals in such a way that students see the purpose and meaning. At some point, schools need to shift more toward the student being a viable partner in determining direction of learning. Alas, your most wonderful/awful C word comes in to play– Control. Perhaps as educators move to take control of their own learning/professional development, they will pass on this blessing to their students. It is incredible what might happen if we moved the needle there more quickly…

    • Well said, Angel. I completely agree that students (learners) will push us there. A partnership in that journey seems to me, too, to be the best paths forward in this inevitable evolution in schooling. And, of course, I think it has everything to do with the influence that locus of control has on our – everyone’s – engagement and ownership and investing in the deeper learning. All too often “school” can be more of an interruption to that natural way of human learning when we guide it more ourselves – like in the other 87% of our lives that we are not in more formalized schooling. School can be more of a complement, amplifier, and accelerator of the natural ways of human learning. But school leaders and learners must collectively work to help school shift and transform relative to and in leadership of the transformations that are happening in the world/communities at large.

      As always, thanks for your learning and thinking extensions here! I so appreciate the dialogue and discussion.

  2. Thanks for these thoughts. I’ve been thinking a lot about unbundling, self-direction, and credentialization as I’ve begun working at the Princeton Learning Cooperative this fall. I think that you’re right: there’s the potential for big changes in the way that individuals put together educations for themselves. I guess we’ll see how these forces—and our actions—continue to play out!

    • Justin, thanks so much for leaving your comment here! I did not know about the Princeton Learning Cooperative, and I’ve been doing a start to exploring, thanks to you. From what I can tell so far, you are contributing to a community that is fairly deep in the “unbundling” and repackaging movement taking place around schooling. I’m so appreciative of your extension of the conversation and understanding base here. Maybe in the near future we could chat more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s