Monday, August 09, 2010

Can the edges move the center?

Can the edges move the center? In education!? What do you believe? How do you act? As you ponder the idea of change in education (What is the greatest need? What are the motivators? What are the barriers?), here are a few thought-provoking resources:

FIRST: Educause Review (July/Aug 2010), see especially "Questioning the Future of the Open Student" by Vicki Davis (yes, she blogs as Cool Cat Teacher). In this Educause article, she profiles an open student (wonder how proficient our students would be) and asks some important questions:

■ How can sources of open content be vetted, rated, and evaluated?
■ How can conversations and learning experiences evolve around open content?
■ Do students have the skill sets to use these learning environments?
■ Are the dominance of the English language and the lack of accessibility for those with disabilities creating additional hurdles?
■ Can learning through open content be validated?
■ Can content area experts emerge from open content environments?
■ Can colleges and universities continue to fund open content initiatives without receiving compensatory payback for their contribution to learning at large?
■ Should future technological innovations that more closely connect humans with the rote knowledge of the Internet redefine the content that is being delivered?

What do you think? Are you/your school on the edge(s)? In the center? Experimenting with change? Resisting it?

PLUS: Education Nation by Milton Chen -- I heard him speak last week on Steve Hargadon's Future of Education (full list of programs here). Chen categorizes the Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools as
1. Thinking Edge
2. Curriculum Edge
3. Technology Edge
4. Time/Place Edge
5. Co-Teaching Edge and
6. Youth Edge

Are you/your school on the edge(s)? In the center? Experimenting with change? Resisting it?

AND THIS: David Warlick recently (8/3) blogged about "The Value of Learning" where he says that "technology is simply the window".

Warlick differentiates between "the textbook equipped classroom, with the teacher in the front of the class, leading the way....[And] a classroom that is equipped with networked, digital, and abundant information, ...[where] the teacher stands behind the learner, looking over his shoulder, suggesting questions, provoking conversations, rewarding success and celebrating mistakes, and, expressing the wonder that new learning causes — because she, perhaps, might be learning something new as well."

What about in the classroom? Are you on the edge(s)? In the center? Experimenting with change? Resisting it?

FINALLY, After ISTE (7/7) Warlick blogged about Doug Johnson and his thoughts On Change from the Radical Center. Johnson lists these principles:
1. Adopt an "and" not "or" mindset.
2. Look for truth and value in all beliefs and practices.
3. Respect the perspective of the individual.
4. Recognize one size does not fit all (kids or teachers).
5. Attend to attitudes.
6. Understand that the elephant can only be eaten one bite at a time.
7. Make sure everyone is moving forward, not just the early adopters.
8. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know."
9. Believe measurement is good, but that not everything can be measured.
10. Know and keep your core values.

Relative to Davis' open student, to Chen's Education Nation, to Warlick's classroom vision, to Johnson's principles, are you/your school on the edge(s) and in the center? Experimenting with change while resisting it?
Can the edges move the center?

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