What I Learned at #MobilityShifts last week in NYC.

I spent last week in New York at the Mobility Shifts conference. No, I wasn’t there on JISC business; I took some annual leave and got there thanks to the generosity of Scott McLeod, Director of CASTLE. In return, Scott gets my undying gratitude and the following blog posts:

I’d usually put this on my conference blog but, well, I spent longer than usual crafting these posts and they constitute a body of work that (albeit predicated on the thoughts of others) I think you should go and read.

Only got time to read one of these posts? Try Day 5 featuring my interview with Cathy Davidson! 🙂

 

Questions about the future of education

When anyone asks me, students included, why on earth I became a teacher, I tell them the truth. “I became a teacher to change the system.” That’s why I’m always interested in discussing and debating the future of education. This morning, Dave Stacey, someone I am proud to call a fellow History teacher and UK edublogger, asked some questions:

Why is it that all our pupils do the same courses at the same time, with people who happen to have been born between the same two Septembers as them?

Why is it that school starts and finishes at the same time for everyone?

Why is it that lessons last an hour, and then we all move round again?

Why is it that for all our talk about understanding multiple intelligences, 95% of learning and assessment is written?

Why is it that we try to manage the complicated business of learning by increasing the number of ever tiny boxes to be ticked?

Why is it that at the end of the day, it’s the teachers who leave exhausted?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘because we’ve always done it like that’ then you’re missing the point

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘that’s how it works’ then you’re not seeing the bigger picture.

We (you and me) are failing thousands of people every single day we perpetuate the myth that is the education system.

I don’t have the answers. But I have some questions, and I think that’s a good start.

Now I don’t think young David really wants answer such as “in the 19th century when the education system was set up, children were needed to gather in the harvest, therefore the school year began when after this had been done.” No no no. :p

What Dave’s getting at is that sometimes you’ve got to completely redesign a system from the ground up. It’s at this point I’d like you very much to watch two videos:

If you haven’t got time to watch the above (you really should find some!) or don’t understand what I’m trying to get at, let me make it explicit: we’re in a period of immense social change (1st video clip). This means we’re re-writing the rules as we go along. Unfortunately, to get to where we need to be, evolution isn’t an option (2nd video clip) – we need to start over to make things better.

I’m not sure I agree with Dave’s implication that learners should leave school ‘exhausted’, but I’m with him all the way on finding it bizarre that in an increasingly multimedia society, we insist on assessments to be done in a written format. We need to be responding to the needs of 21st century learners who will live in a 21st century global society. Miguel Guhlin linked to the following diagram by Scott McLeod today. It’s worth looking at these things, especially when in the throes of the daily grind:

Dave writes, “We (you and me) are failing thousands of people every single day we perpetuate the myth that is the education system.” I agree. And it’s the reason, I believe, why many teachers who could and should change the education system end up as consultants or leave the profession due to sheer frustration. I, for one, am not ‘walking the walk’ as I should be. Thanks for the wake-up call, Dave! 🙂

(image credit: “Studying for class” by jakebouma @ Flickr)

 

Seminal blog posts

World mapIn the (large!) comments section of a recent post entitled The Map Is Not The Territory: the changing face of the edublogosphere it was suggested that we need a repository of seminal blog posts for those new (and not so new!) to the edublogosphere.

These are the posts that have provoked thinking and discussion in the edublogosphere – either in the comment section directly below the post and/or more widely on other blogs.

Professor Doctor JP Scott McLeod, a.k.a. all-round nice guy and fantastic blogger at Dangerously Irrelevant, has kindly put together a wiki page to collate the blog posts and articles that those new to the edublogosphere should have as required reading!

You can find the wiki page at:

http://movingforward.wikispaces.com/Blog+posts

Seminal blog posts wiki page

After Scott added the initial links, I’ve spent some time dating the posts and arranging them in reverse chronological order. If this idea takes off, I’d like to run a competition to design a blog sidebar badge for people to link to this page.

I don’t want to be dictatorial, but if you could please follow the following 3 simple guidelines, it will make life easier for all:

  • Don’t spam the wiki by adding lots of links to your own blog. That’s not cool at all.
  • If you don’t think a blog post should be included, use the strikethrough formatting feature and explain why.
  • Include only those that talk about pedagogically-oriented concepts and ideas, not just those that talk about cool ways to use Web 2.0 tools.

It would be great if some of the people who kindly left comments on the previous post could get involved in rectifying the situation! 😀

What do you think? Good idea or not?

 
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