The thing we call “School” is in a state of change. Not too long ago, school was pretty much the “campfire” around which a community would gather to spread knowledge and know-how. Of course, school continues to serve as such a community campfire. However, the monopoly that schools essentially had on such a central gathering place for knowledge transfer and generational training is evaporating. People can access learning “anytime – anywhere” with minimal effort, as countless “teachers” share in myriad ways what they know and know how to do.
Are you inviting those teachers into your learning spaces? Or are you locking them out of the places we continue to call school? Young learners – those we call children, students, etc. – can and do access the myriad teachers who reside in virtual time and space. As for me, I would prefer that our students access these amazing teachers with the face-to-face teachers with whom they interact at that place called school. While I worry a bit about online safety, I think I worry even more about dis-empowering our students to learn responsible and respectful wisdom gathering. I worry about those schools that try to shut out the outside world because I think that they risk driving our students to explore that world without much, if any, adult guidance and shepherding. Students will engage the outside-school-walls community. We should try to accompany them and serve as wise Sherpas and co-pilots.
Have you seen this TED talk yet?
I watch a TED talk everyday, and this one by Massimo Banzi is one of the most thought-provoking that I have seen. It is well worth the watch…ESPECIALLY by school-based educators. Did I know of open-sourcing before? Yes. Did I know of the Maker Movement before? Yes. What struck me at this viewing was the disruptive nature that such open-sourcing and maker-ness can have on the places we call school. Banzi shares SO MANY examples of open-source development of the Arduino. Our students are doing this amazing stuff – with or without us. How cool would school be if we would embrace this disruption and integrate such innovative thinking with the schedules and structures of school? Our students should be building those earthquake detectors, pet feeders, and satellite experiments – and they should be doing these things as part of that thing we call school.
I imagine a hybrid – a new place called school blending the invaluable community campfire that demands that we share time and space with each other face-to-face with the invaluable open-source community that understands that expertise and passion exist in geographically dispersed settings that can be connected virtually.
Are you opening your students’ minds to the world and its amazing wonder, or are you shutting out the world…a world that they will access without us if we don’t go with them?