(Note: Your participation is requested belowâ€¦)
So itâ€™s taken me a couple of weeks to get to this reflection on the conversation I led at Educon. I hope those in attendance and online feel as I do that it was a pretty compelling session, and I like the fact that we had a tangible albeit undeveloped takeaway. Iâ€™m hoping maybe we can dive more deeply into it here.
Just as a reminder, hereâ€™s a link to the session description. We had about 100 people in the room and another 40 or so online grappling with the question â€œWhat are the â€˜bigâ€™ conversations that schools should be having in relation to the â€˜tectonicâ€™ shifts that are occuring with social learning online?â€ After some small and large group discussion, here is the list we came up with in no particular order:
- What does an educated person look like today?
- What are the essential practices of teachers in a system where students are learning outside of school?
- If some percentage of schooling is socialization and relationship building, how would that happen outside of school?
- How are we going to shift the expectations for schools from all of our constituents?
- How do we change policy to support more flexible time and place learning?
- How does our thinking of the physical space change?How do we support the changing role of teacher?
- What is the role of the teacher?Do we really need a physical space?
- How do K-12 and higher ed have this conversation about change together?
- What is the purpose of school?How do we teach kids ethics and citizenship?
- How do we continue to make school available to everyone?
- Is school a resource or it something we do?
- How do we adapt our curriculum to the technologies that kids are already using?
- How do we ensure that every child has access to learning opportunities outside of school?
- How do we make school fun?
- What should be compulsory about school?
- How do we make sure that the weakest forms of traditional schooling donâ€™t get amplified by technology?
- How do we avoid the social justice implications of an elitist model of education?
- How do we ensure those without privilege have equal access to quality education and opportunity?
- How do we become better equipped, both as individuals and as systems, to deal with change?
- What is preventing us from being adaptable to change?
- How do we rethink the reallocation of resources to support individualized instruction?
- We will be creating a new class of marginalized people with these shifts?
- What is the essential learning that schools impart to students?
- How do public schools prove that they are commtted to education all children?
- What risks are we willing to accept?
- What is our obligation to collaborate with other systems going through similar changes?
- How do we measure or assess the effectiveness of individualized self-directed learning outside of school?
- How do you validate or evaluate informal learning?
- How do we help students discover their passions?
- Who is going to pay for equity of access to these environments?
- How can we use our best resources more effectively for our students?
May just be me, but thatâ€™s a pretty impressive list. And pretty daunting in some respects. I think many of these are worth delving into further, and Iâ€™m hoping you might be willing to help narrow these down to the â€œtop 10â€³ of these and then start a conversation on each one of them through a series of blog posts.
Keep the conversation goingâ€¦Join in!
Iâ€™ve added all of these to a Google form where you can check off the 10 that you think might be most worth diving into. (I would embed it, but itâ€™s not rendering very well in the blog.) If we could get a bunch of people to chime in over the next couple of days, then perhaps we could really crowdsource some responses. Heck, maybe we can even collectively write a book around these ideas that might work as a guide to starting these conversations in schools. Dream big.)
Karen Szymusiak says
Great idea. I have looked over the list and found it too daunting to tackle. Narrowing down the list will work for me. I am looking forward to the conversations.
Am really looking forward to pondering all of these–especially after sitting thru David Jakes’ presentation at METC today on redefining our learning spaces, both physical and digital. Starting to to think that all these snow days may cause us to work on the digital learning environment due to immediacy–missing all those learning days, what if we had spaces where learning could continue to happen whether we could get to school or not?
(Side note–hi to Karen S, an colleague from earlier in my career!)
Karen Szymusiak says
Curious…. when did we work together.
Karen Szymusiak says
The form will only let me pick one question not ten. Am I doing something wrong?
Will Richardson says
Karen Szymusiak says
Sorry, it was something I was doing wrong. I have responded on the form. Thanks
I think most of them stem from the question about the purpose of school. Most of the other questions can’t be answered until we come to an agreement.
Pat Keeney says
Excellent questions and I believe an extremely worthy activity here – let’s make a difference! I was not part of the actual Educon discussion but now wish I had been!
Rodd Lucier says
Funny that you should write this at the same time I’ve been having related discussions with my co-presenter at Educon. Following our experience of writing a largely graphic e-book in our session (which was read over 5000 times in the first 5 days), Ben Hazzard and I have been having discussions about digging deeper in the writing of a book or series of books in support of change agents.
Looking at what you’ve done here, there may be an intersection in our plans.
Laura Deisley says
Game. Thanks for taking a conversation to the next level. And, hopefully something actionable.
J. Radney says
Thanks so much for doing this, Will. I am forwarding the webform to my students in English and Business Writing courses to see if they will participate; I have also notified people in the MOODLE for Teachers course I am a facilitator for to encourage their participation.
Have you considered posting the item for input among educators exploring the value of Google Wave for education? I can get you the information, if you would like.
Honor Moorman says
This is a great way to extend the conversation – Thanks! The questions I selected seem to point back to the essential question – What’s best for our students? That who I’m dreaming big for!
Brian Kuhn says
Thanks for asking the questions and sourcing our opinion. I’m looking forward to the blog post series that will be unleashed here soon!
linda biondi says
I happened to “find” this site while trying to learn more about Will Richardson, who will be presenting at our school this month. I found the questions to be timeless. If the word “technology” wasn’t part of the question, they would be questins that we ask ourselves day in and day out as educators. Sometimes I feel as if I am technology literate but then when I compare myself to others in the field of education, I realize I have so much to learn. I look forward to his presentation and responding on this blog.
Will Richardson says
I’m sure there are all sorts of intersections stemming from Educon. You did a great job of creating something on the fly. In general, I think we need more “actions” coming out of the conversations. Maybe something like this should be a part of each proposal next year, though I wouldn’t want to mandate anything. But it does seem like a time when we can get some things done as well as talk about them. Just thinking out loud.
Kristen Swanson says
I love the idea of bringing “action” to Educon. My only question is this: Right now, everyone is intrinsically motivated to accomplish your task because they have high interest and a passion for change. By “requiring” it, will it kill the magic?
Thanks for making me think Will. I look forward to discussing your topics at length with some amazing educators!
Kim Sivick says
I was a first time attendee at Educon this year. I loved the “magic” . I don’t think it would be necessary to mandate any actions…just identify a few key organizers willing to take a leap and ask them to invite others. There are enough of us that would be delighted to be included. The issue occurs once you begin preaching outside the choir.
Slowly, enough individuals start to make a shift and the world will notice. Perhaps Ian Jukes with his committed sardine analogy is apropos here….when enough sardines begin to swim in a different diction, they slowly build mass until the rest of the sardines simply turn and follow.
As for inspiration to be a change agent look no further than Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Dee James says
I was not part of Educon. I stumbled upon the information a bit too late to take part online but it must have been great from what I have read.
I got interested because I was feeling isolated and wanted to be part of a larger group of ideas. I am going to be very interested in the results from this information. We are a very small school with large funding cuts from the state. We need to think differently rather than trying to fit what we do now into the new constraints but the how of that is the question. Many of the questions asked may help and I am looking forward to them! Thanks for making this public.
Allison Williams says
I followed educon via the twitter and elluminate. Would love to be more directly connected.
Might want to mention on this post that the survey is now closed and results posted: