Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron:
Waves of technology are eroding our foundation. They threaten our traditional journalistic home. Survival dictates we move. And we have to move quickly.
This is what I’ll call the Big Move. As we make this move, the first casualty is sentiment. The forces at work don’t care about how we prefer to do our jobs, how easily we adjust to change, how much we have to learn. They don’t care about any extra workload.
This transformation is going to happen no matter what. And there is only one realistic choice available: We can do what we must to adapt and – ideally – thrive. Or not — in which case we are choosing to fail…And for those who resist the change rather than embrace it, there will be no forbearance or forgiveness. Their destiny is to be pushed aside and forgotten. That is the brutal truth.
Replace “journalistic” with “education” and…
Those of you who have stopped by here over the years know that I’m drawn to quotes like these. I think it’s interesting when one of the top dogs at one of the top newspapers in the world basically says “change or die.”
I’ve got degrees in both journalism and education, and I can’t help but see the parallels in how each is or will be affected by these “waves of technology.” The only difference is the timing. Journalism’s foundations are eroding more quickly and at a larger scale because of its vulnerability to market forces more than anything else. In education, while the market forces are certainly growing, we’re more captive and bound by long-standing narratives (and structures and policies and nostalgia) that are harder to push apart. Our customers, by and large, can’t easily move to a new provider.
As Jeb Bush and his business driven posse finish up another “summit” on education in Arizona, it’s clear the options are expanding, and those options are being fueled by “waves of technology.” And those forces don’t care how teachers prefer to do their jobs, or how easy it will be for them to change. They’ll just be collateral damage.
Importantly, however, the market forces in education are still mostly aimed at delivering the same product in a “better” way as defined by legacy assessments. They’re not focused on developing the learner over developing the knower because the latter is easier to quantify. That, to me, is an opportunity.
We can choose to believe that this transformation isn’t coming for us. I believe otherwise. Put simply, if we don’t start writing and articulating and advocating for a more relevant vision for learning, and if we don’t start creating a more relevant classroom experience for kids, we are choosing to fail.