looking for more Coolest Guy In America resourcesThe "Decoupling" of Education and School: Where do We Begin?

external image 20100126-8kk6yxeu7jskkwjhnhiceytj4q.jpgThe next ten years promise to be hugely disruptive for the traditional idea of school as more and more alternative learning platforms are created and expanded. This conversation will focus not on technology but on the larger shifts that will have to occur for schools to evolve into a different role in our society. Driving the discussion will be these quotes from Allan Collins and Richard Halverson's recent book Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology :

"If educators cannot successfully integrate new technologies into what it means to be a school, then the long identification of schooling with education, developed over the past 150 years, will dissolve into a world where the students with the means and the ability will pursue their learning outside of public school."

"Schools were prevalent in the era of apprenticeship, and they will be prevalent in whatever new system of education comes into being. But the seeds of a new system are beginning to emerge, and they are already beginning to erode the identification of learning and schooling. As these new technologically driven seeds germinate, education will occur in many different, more adaptive venues, and schools will have a narrower role in learning."

"Our generation faces a...radically new, design challenge. We are dealing with a mature, stable system of education designed to adapt to gradual change, but ill-suited to embrace radical change. The pace of technological change has outstripped the ability or school systems to adapt essential practices. Schools have fiddled with learning technologies on the margins of the system, in boutique innovations that leave core practices untouched. The emergence of new forms of teaching and learning outside of school threaten the identification of learning with formal schooling forged in the 19th Century."



Thanks to everyone that participated!

Let's start a list of questions raised by these quotes (and others that come out of the discussion). Feel free to edit this page:

What does this new design look like?
How will the roles of elementary schools and high schools begin to evolve?
How will we address the divide issues that these opportunities outside of school create?

Please feel free to add your questions here before the Saturday session begins at 1 pm EST.

I am sorry, but I do not feel that these quotes do not represent the average school or teachers. At least the ones I have seen, visited, and chatted with. I do agree that there is a small uprising, mostly within our Personal Learning Network, those on twitter, plurk, at Educon, etc. But in the big picture, our numbers are still remain low. Change is not happening wide-spread...and sadly, change is not a thought in so many places.
My question to you -- to your audience is three-fold:
1. What is our new design -- do we really know? Our network can't even agree on simple things and at odds over simple things (like fonts, powerpoint, IWB) and are totally missing the bigger picture. But then I have to ask -- what is the bigger picture? Do we really have a consensus?
2. How do we keep the seeds to continue being germinated -- when in fact, they seem to be continually run over, trampled, and sprayed with weed killer by so many?
3. What proof do we have that this radical change is truly the best? Though there are positives, there are many negatives as well (obesity for one due to lack of exercise because of sitting in front of a computer non-stop - as an example.) What proof do we have that when we look back at 1999 - 2010 that any difference has been made at all? And please don't give examples of those within our network who ARE making changes. I know of those pockets of change....where else are they happening?

I need to be brief for now because I need to be off to work. I dream everyday of a new vision for schools, teaching and learning. My experience is in elementary and promoting change sometimes feels like moving a mountain. I look for the small changes to celebrate but I long for the big changes that will matter. For elementary, I would like for us to put the established, inflexible curriculum on the back shelf. I think students will learn the most important pieces of the curriculum by following their passions. I look for a day when I can stand at the entrance of our school and ask kids about their passions, what they want to learn that day, and how they are going to go about doing it. Would that change our daily lives at school? I sure hope so. I will revisit later to add some clarity to my thinking. For now, I continue to dream and think about my actions that will make those dreams happen.
Karen Szymusiak
Portland Oregon

I notice you don't ask how the role of middle schools will continue to evolve. Yet, I have seen some genuinely innovative programs be cultivated at that level, especially in the area of democratic instruction, and I can't help but think that moving to more student-directed and genuinely student-centered learning will need to be at the core of what we do. With that in mind, my questions would include what are things we genuinely need for everyone to learn, what areas are most negotiable, and as kids pass through middle school how do we help them take increasing responsibility for their lives and set a direction without cutting off alternatives should they need to go in a new direction later on. As we work through those issues, we could continually examine how technology can be a means to an end. I would suggest an underlying goal, which totally fits with middle school philosophy, of balancing intellectual, physical, social and aesthetic development. My final question would be, as with others here, where are programs that already do this?
Bill Ivey

It is frustrating to see the "glacier like" movement of change in education. I think we need to tackle this problem differently, but I can't say I know exactly how. I know that I do not want someone to design "a model" of what schools should look like for all to implement because I think by the time it is designed it will be irrelevant as well. Also, a one size fits all approach is never a solution.

I am wondering if a greater parent voice would help move the agenda. I think that we need to re-educate parents who are products of an outdated educational model as to what their children need to move forward. I would like to think that parents want what is best for their children and if we engage them in the conversation we may start to change some things. I think we can also do a great deal more to involve students at the high school.

Of course, I am assuming that teachers actually have a meaningful voice in this which is often times not the case.

What is the tipping point? Gosh, I hope we find out and get to see it.
Patrick Larkin

Any vision for the future of education that sees the need for everyone to advance to some magical instance of what education should be, is unrealistic at best. There is, I think, a need for learners of all ages to adopt a wide array of strategies in co-discovery of an unknown future. When schools invite widespread experimentation in the areas of learning tools, lesson designs, and product development, we'll be experiencing first hand what education is all about: learning.

Rodd Lucier

I do agree that the changes are outstripping the school's ability to keep up -- even with new policies, adapting to new technology needs, adapting to way things are changing (like e-books/libraries, for example), or students with the internet in their pocket, etc., etc. If some teachers are adapting, administrators aren't, or vice versa. I do think that pushes at schools to respond more quickly or to change, but what will ensue from that it is hard to say. I see frustration levels rising among teachers who have to wait a year or two to get a website approved. Students seem to expect "business as usual" from schools for the most part. Once they have tasted something different, like Christian's students, or SLA students, they love it, but it's not really an "expectation" that they have.
Carolyn Foote

1. Are kids not pursing their own personal learning outside of traditional schooling already?
2. How do we manage and facilitate student directed learning in ways that insure their education is complete and not full of gaps?
3. Who is the subject matter expert? What is the curriculum? Who decides what the curriculum is? What are the standards?
4. How do teachers prepare to use new technologies to facilitate learning?
5. What is a school? Is it a building with 4 walls with classes led by a teacher. Are there other types of schools where students meet outside of a traditional school?
6. Do all kids still need to learn the same things?
7. Do students need to learn new skills in how to organize information and data that they collect on their laptop? They are great about sharing and collaborating but how do they frame it?
8. How do we help kids prepare for work in a knowledge economy where they need to be skilled in knowledge work?

More Resources:
Painters Brisbane
Ada Michigan Homes
SEO Optimisation