The US Dept. of Education site that explains it’s vision for “School 2.0” is now officially up and running. As the site says, the vision is “a sketch and a work in progress” and “is designed to facilitate community discussions and preparations for short and long term educational and management goals.”
I had the pleasure of getting a chance to to talk with Tim Magner, the Director of the Office of Educational Technology, out at NECC last summer, and he’s very interested in moving the conversation about schools to another level. What I especially like about this is that it is a part of a process, that those in charge sincerely want to educate about some of the changes that are occurring and want the feedback of educators, parents, and anyone else with a stake in schooling. And I think it sets the right tone for the discussion:
Technology is not the focus of School 2.0, but it can enable educational institutions to connect across traditional boundaries, bringing the world into the classroom and engaging parents and community members as critical partners in the learning experience of all students.
Just my opinion, but I think we who have been talking about this type of vision more than most might have some really interesting feedback to offer up. What do you think?
Angie L. says
which other summer school do you know?
I found some here http://www.summer-school-programs.com
but what is the url of yours? I would like some references
Geoff S. says
I think this should be exciting, especially because read/write web use does not necessarily involve special investment from schools (beyond their regular technical investment – no software buy needed for blogs or wikis, etc.), so having a national discussion might be more constructive than it would if we were discussing hardware initiatives. It’s less like a national spending mandate and more like a dialogue – which seems fitting for this subject matter.
Will, thank you for sharing the link with the US Dept. of Educ. “School2.0” site today and your suggestion for many of us who agree with your ideas to get further involved.
A heck of a prompt for national conversation, although I suspect that what you are doing as one person is already fueling more conversation than a governmental agency’s efforts, albeit this time they seem to be trying a new approach that might spark conversations in new places…or echo what you’ve been saying all along! Youâ€™re right about both the power of process and that those who have been in these discussions in an on-going manner well before large-scale efforts began to form must add their voices to initiatives like this. Great call to arms you offer!
Chris Lehmann and I have been brainstorming lately about putting together a book (and accompanying site) that would gather expert voices/opinions on the “design of a School2.0.â€ Needless to say, Chrisâ€™ Science Leadership Academy is a prime example of a case study that shows it can be done, and it can be done with minor resources (although it takes enormous vision and commitment). Likewise, we know of classrooms and schools that are beginning to make this shift. Certainly the blogosphere is ripe with educator/IT voices that show it is possible. Beyond the technology itself, our interest is in forging alliances across the typical disciplines and domains that gets to the heart of â€œhowâ€ we actually create or re-create schools that lead with a 2.0 mindset.
We are using “design” intentionally. From cross-discipline realms of designing learning â€˜spaces,â€™ 2-way technology integration, curriculum and pedagogy, professional development, and public/private partnerships, we’re seeking a diverse range of design-oriented strategies to be shared and to arise which support communities everywhere in readying their learners for what Daniel Pink calls the conceptual age. Clearly, the technology itself (blogging, podcasting, wikis, et al) is sparking much of the debate/curiosity lately, but we sense that the ‘thinking’ and ‘action’ shift youâ€™re discussing eventually happens when we look at School2.0 from a larger design premise.
In my day job, I work closely with school design professionals across the globe, experts who are truly seeking 21st century schools to empower communities and learners across the globe. Just this past week, I was in Holland speaking with Dutch designers/educators who are offering truly inspired spaces, but theyâ€™re still struggling to unify the â€˜wayâ€™ learning is fostered and the creation of more dynamic spaces. The same is true all around the world, and certainly here in the US. We continue to design, plan, and build school building after school building based on education of the past. Yes, we add computer labs and we consider mobile carts, but at the end of the day, expired views of learning drive design decisions. Technology is seen as an after-thought. Worse, the design community still assumes there will be one teacher at the front of the room directing exercises. And school after school after school are still being created to reflect this. Just as teacher education programs are still based around school of the past. Something needs to shift. And it requires a new vision â€“ a School2.0 vision â€“ and a new set of voices to help gather experts to look at a larger set of design strategies that not only affects a single lesson, but also the entire concept of a learning environment.
Sadly, we see the design of spaces to be separate from the design of curriculum, the use of technology in innovative ways, and the unification of diverse sectors of society. Iâ€™m wondering what happens when Will Richardson sits down at the same table with the leading school architects who are expending the same energy in the creation of literal school spaces. What happens when he challenges them to understand the â€˜future of learningâ€™ in profoundly new ways. What happens when he inspires them to collaborate in new ways to re-imagine not only what tools are used, but also how the spaces themselves can reflect and support the School2.0 shift in very real terms. Perhaps we see fewer â€œcomputer labsâ€ being built. Perhaps, even beyond the physical spaces, we see more architects/planners/builders sitting down with school leaders and asking how them imagine the School2.0 of their future coming together. Asking better questions. No longer ignoring the changes in the way that learning can occur, but embracing them from a point of leadership.
Your work — especially the recent article in Edutopia — continues to inspire and challenge us both to follow your lead, push the conversation forward, and lend whatever energy we can to a larger debate and formation of more dynamic schools that put the tools not only in the hands of our students, but to challenge/support our students to co-create those tools in the first place. This collaborative, anytime/anywhere vision of â€˜learningâ€™ you speak about speaks to the very best of what lies ahead as people begin to better understand the School2.0 concept.
Again, thank you for your continued inspiration. I recall the days you began to hint in your blog at ‘leaving’ your ‘day job’, taking on a new form of leadership…and thinking that we needed more and more folks like you to truly engage the larger audiences. Your gamble (logical, really) has really paid off these past few months…and I’m greatly encouraged by seeing major magazines, conferences, and other unifying platforms begin to trust your voice.
Keep up the great work. Chris and I would both like to invite you to lend your voice to our collection of “design” strategies to help educators, classrooms, schools, and communities around the nation/world make this 2.0 shift. Perhaps this is a casual Skype brainstorming session when you have a free moment. Perhaps this is something larger. Perhaps you are a co-editor as we collect voices, case studies, strategies, and other vital resources. If youâ€™re interested in the possibilities, please let either one of us know as time allows. In the meantime, be well…and thanks for your continual inspiration!
Carolyn Foote says
As someone about to design a new space(library) I am really excited at our opportunity to create a forward looking space. Christian, your comments were inspiring in that regard.
Thanks for those.
Our school has been beginning to use blogs in a number of exciting ways, to plan with committees, to share information, to provide a place for feedback and for student projects.
I know this is just one tool but the potential has enthused some of our staff and also parents in the community as well.
I think the ability to communicate easily and across time and space, and have more of an extended dialogue than email really allows is part of that.
Thanks for your comments!
Your entries over the past couple of days, and your article in Edutopia, have given me lots of great things to think about. I’ve written a post incorporating some of your ideas on my blog (profalavenir.blogspot.com) if you’d like to take a peek.
Thanks for the food-for-thought!