Stephen Downes has a link to a post by John Hagel III titled “From Push to Pull,” which leads to a longer article on the topic free registration required) written with John Seely Brown, and to an even longer .pdf opening draft of a book on the topic, all of which has has me tingling. (Remember, I don’t have much of a life…)
In a nutshell, clipping from various points in the introduction, here’s the premise as it relates to this community:
The signs are around us. We are on the cusp of a shift to a new common sense model that will re-shape many facets of our life, including how we identify ourselves, participate with others, connect with others, mobilize resources and learn…Over the past century, we have been perfecting highly efficient approaches to mobilizing resources. These approaches may vary in their details, but they share a common foundation. They are all designed to “push” resources in advance to areas of highest anticipated need. In education, we design standard curricula to expose students to codified information in a pre-determined sequence of experiences…In the past decade, we have seen early signs of a new model for mobilizing resources. Rather than “push”, this new approach focuses on “pull” – creating platforms that help people to mobilize appropriate resources when the need arises…Rather than seeking to constrain the resources available to people, pull models strive to continually expand the choices available while at the same time helping people to find the resources that are most relevant to them. Rather than seeking to dictate the actions that people must take, pull models seek to provide people on the periphery with the tools and resources (including connections to other people) required to take initiative and creatively address opportunities as they arise. Push models treat people as passive consumers (even when they are producers like workers on an assembly line) whose needs can be anticipated and shaped by centralized decision-makers. Pull models treat people as networked creators (even when they are customers purchasing goods and services) who are uniquely positioned to transform uncertainty from a problem into an opportunity. Pull models are ultimately designed to accelerate capability building by participants, helping them to learn as well as innovate, by pursuing trajectories of learning that are tailored to their specific needs.
Obviously, that’s just a piece of a much larger discussion, but what has my brain buzzing is they way that description captures so much of what we’re reading and writing about. The whole idea of shifting frames of reference to teaching and learning. The concepts of participation and connection. The ways in which our educational system is designed to “push” the limited resources it had access to. The idea that now that we have access to a plethora of knowledge and resources, we need to think hard about expanding the choices for our students to find those most relevant and effective. We need to teach them to take ownership of their own learning because they can, and because they will be expected to in their adult lives. (What a concept, huh?) To give them “the tools and resources (including connections to other people) required to take initiative and creatively address opportunities as they arise.” (That line really resonated…) The idea that we are all “networked creators…pursuing trajectories of learning that are tailored to [our] specific needs.” And think about how blogs and RSS fit into this, how we can pull information to us.
Mercy. This is really good stuff, I think. More to come I’m sure…
Jenine Wech says
The portion of the excerpt that I find most striking is “Push models treat people as passive consumers …”. That is a perfect phrase to sum up how we treat our students. In fact, it also can describe the manner in which administration often treats teachers. Hey, lets be honest…we can trace this sort of “push” mentality right up to the USDE level. It is impossible to teach students to be active leaders and contrbutors when we treat them a “passive consumers.” As educators, we tend to subscribe to the notion that we can somehow predict the world ahead and prepare our students for it using standardized curriculum. Our students need to be able to CREATE their own future..and it may not look anything like what we can imagine right now. We can help them develop core skills and an essential knowlege base;confidence, self awareness, ability to interact and effectively communicate with others, tolerence and solid work ethic. Wait! Aren’t those traits of a life-long learner and leader? On the topic of work ethic, I have a blog entry of my own.
Jenine Wech says
Double Posting Error…oops
Will Richardson says
Yeah, and there is just so much power (at least to me) in the idea that the landscape has fundamentally changed for education now that we have access to so many more ideas and resources. This is not your mother’s or even your older sister’s world in terms of the knowledge we can pull into our environments. It’s a sea change…