I posed a question on Twitter the other day that was seriously on my mind:
It’s been something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: how do we best use the reach that we have in our networks to articulate a different vision of “reform” than the current narrative? And is there a point where our “reach” compels us to be more provocative in that cause?
Let me be clear on where this comes from in my brain at least:
- We’re living at a moment of huge change in the ways we can learn and become educated, changes that go far beyond the social media tools and apps that have exploded in the last decade.
- Lots of folks see lots of opportunity (read: money) in the education space via the digitization of learning to achieve traditional ends. Non transformative transformations, so to speak. (Read this and weep.)
- There is a huge urgency at this moment to articulate a counter narrative to the one being funded and broadcast by large corporations, foundations and politicians, a narrative which is focused on using technology to achieve efficiencies in the pursuit of “higher student achievement” aka better test scores.
- If we are unable to mount a coherent, compelling response to this narrative, schools as we know them are pretty much toast.
That sums up my view of the world in four bullet points right now. And so when I saw a Tweet from someone in the education space with almost 100K followers, someone who has some global chops and reach and valuable things to say (as well as an effective way of saying it), but someone who doesn’t seem to be using that social media reach to actively provoke and push back, I started wondering. Is it fair to place a higher expectation on that person to do just that? (I know…Sir Ken’s whole Twitter story is an outlier.)
Safe to say, the thread generated some interesting conversation and pushback. You can get a gist of it here, though please know that I didn’t include all of the Tweets in there.
I’m not trying to tell anyone how to live their Twitter lives. And I know the whole concept of “reach” is impossible to figure by counting heads. More, I know 100K followers on Twitter is still nothing in terms of the grand scheme of things, especially in the education conversation. And I also know there are all sorts of other lenses to this question that would take many, many more words to bring to light.
But given the moment, I’m still left to ask: do we as educators who have a somewhat different view of what learning and schooling needs to be have a greater responsibility to really push the conversation, to get outside of our own networks (i.e. read #edreform), to question what others Tweet and post, to engage, respectfully, in the full vetting of ideas, and to write and act accordingly? Is that a fair expectation right now, not just of the way we comport ourselves online but offline as well in our local, face to face interactions?
Or are we ok with leaving the broad brush construction of this new “reform” narrative around education to others who have a much different view of what schools and education and learning should be? #loadedquestion