First try at New Hive: A graphic on BAE Systems and the proposed shutdown of the Bradley Industrial Base
I’ll just let Sugata Mitra do the talking.
It’s so horrible, I’m going to hide it behind a “more” link. Only click if you want to become nauseous instantly.
I had a real light bulb moment today as I was driving home from work.
I had watched a livestream of an interview that the York Daily Record/Sunday News Editorial Board did with some leaders in the YorkCounts organization. YorkCounts recently proposed a plan that would replace the public school system in York City with charter schools.
I give them credit for thinking outside the box (somewhat), but I honestly feel like it’s pointless to have any discussion about charters, leadership, community involvement, or appropriate funding without acknowledging that education is going through a fundamental transformation. Education, like many other fields, is struggling to cope with technological disruption. Journalists, for instance, have needed to re-think the way they collect, organize, and distribute information; newspapers, magazines, radio, and television are just a few of many different platforms today. Libraries are struggling to deal with the growth of eBooks and search engines. Schools are in the same boat, but for some reason they are much more resistant to change than either of the aforementioned fields.
Higher education has been the first to start embracing new ideas. I think this is because they have much more freedom to experiment. K-12 education is still wrapped tightly in regulations and expectations based on the industrial model of education. Many colleges have entered the digital age; they are offering courses – entire degrees, even – online. They are starting to embrace MOOCs and gamification. Higher education is moving toward a true Edupunk model where learners are free to learn what they want, when they want. The college degree will be one of several accepted credentials, just like the newspaper is now one of several accepted mediums for journalists to use.
So when does this all spill over into the K-12 realm? I believe it will be sooner than most people think, and because of this we absolutely must consider disruption when making long-term plans for our students and schools. This YorkCounts group can throw out ideas like replacing public schools with charter schools, but that thought alone is like trying to replace one kind of newspaper with another – in the end, the truly successful organizations will be those that embrace a wide variety of solutions and allow the end user (the learner, in education) to drive the decision-making process.
Imagine what education would look like if elementary, middle, and high school students weren’t saddled with standardized testing or No Child Left Behind? What if they could study what they want, when they want, and work on building a unique learning portfolio that they can take with them from grade to grade, all the way through college, and all the way through life? What if the badges they earn in high school replaced college-prep and Advanced Placement courses? What if kids could earn credits in elementary school that would mean something in higher education? The whole dynamic would change! It wouldn’t matter if they were in a public school, charter school, private school, or home school. Students would pick the learning experiences that engaged them on an individual level, thereby maximizing their education and lifting their communities out of poverty.
So that’s the thought I had on my way home today. The real problem it seems (and I don’t mean any offense by this) is that education is still dominated by the older generations. They don’t understand Twitter, or online learning, or why anybody would want badges. They like the system that is in place because they built it. We very well may have to wait until more of the young digital natives are in leadership positions in education before K-12 truly embraces this disruption. But can we wait that long? Can our education system survive a civil war between the public and private sectors? I hope that people – Edupunks, specifically – can spread the message that we, the new learners, are ready to take control over our own educations. We’re tired of the bickering and lack of creativity. Listen to us. YorkCounts may have noble goals and intentions, but the conversation they are trying to start isn’t addressing the most important problem associated with our educational system, both locally and globally.
One of my favorite hashtags this week is #petec13, which is the backchannel for this year’s PETE&C (Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo & Conference) in Hershey, PA. I’m not able to attend but the hashtag is constantly being updated, so I’m practically there.
Anyway, I like seeing the “bigger picture” when it comes to these sorts of things. So I hopped over to Wordle and pasted in the title of every session – all 270 of them – to see what words stood out.
And here’s what I got:
The biggest words are no surprise: learning, technology, classroom, etc. But then whoa, hey, look at BYOD! I don’t see 1:1 anywhere on there. I did a quick check of the input and even the word “One” that appears in the Wordle isn’t a reference in any way to 1:1. Everyone loves BYOD, but the question that must be asked is how many truly understand what it means? Maybe we can get some discussion of that here at Edupunked.
I also find it interesting that iPad and iPads are very common at PETE&C. Not really a surprise, but I’ve gotta wonder how many of these people are going to go back to their schools and buy a whole bunch of iPads for students under the auspices of BYOD. Again, I think there are some misconceptions about what BYOD really is.
We can see that Online is big. I’m thinking that it’s going to get bigger. K-12 institutions are still way behind higher education when it comes to using online tools, and that’s mainly because K-12 institutions have a lot of legal obstacles preventing them from offering a free and open internet to children. The idealist in me is disappointed that progress in K-12 online learning is so slow, but the pragmatist in me understands why. Still, progress has to be made somehow.
A couple words to the left of Technology we can see Gamification. SWEET! Especially at the elementary level, gamification has the potential to turn many of the mundane assignments that our children struggle with into exciting and social adventures. In higher levels, gamification can be combined with badges and other alternative credentials to provide students with digital learning profiles that will someday be attractive to employers, prospective clients etc. There’s going to be growth in that area as well.
Google, which is toward the bottom of the Wordle, appears to be just a bit larger than Microsoft, which is located toward the right side. Part of this may be the presence of Chromebooks, which also appear in the image (although much, much smaller than iPads).
What else do you see in the Wordle that surprises you? Stands out to you? Requires further research? Discuss!