Change is in the Air

Yet another reference to gardening posted at the Connectivism Blog:

We think we are trimming the hedges, when we have the potential to alter the entire landscape – to alter the very make up of the soil in which the hedges grow.

Will Richardson writes about the changes that are happening in Learning vs. Education:

It comes down to this, for me at least. Things are different. This is a changed space. Our learning environments need to change to take advantage of the people and information and ideas that we can now connect to. We cannot continue to be enablers to our students’ dependence on a school selected, force fed curriculum that was in some ways necessary 50 years ago but is quickly becoming irrelevant today. Our students need to learn how to learn, because there is so much more to learn from, and they need to be given the license to start making some of those decisions on their own.

So this is about action — I have a 5, 2 and newborn. I love my kids, and I want to model effective learning for them, but it scares me to death to read this part of Will’s post:

I feel it when I look at my own children, which is the frame of reference I bring to these discussions. I look at the reams and reams of worksheets they bring home and literally shake. At 6 and 8, they have already become pieces on the assembly line, chugging along apace with their peers, everything checked, everything ordered. Tucker can’t read story #22 before #19 even though story #22 looks more interesting. Tess breezes through the homework that doesn’t challenge her and gets told she needs to be neater. (Oy.)

So what does the future hold?

I’m keeping a handle on today, changing the way I teach every moment I can. Preparing to be an administrator at a school that is really going to take us in the direction of creating learners.

In my photography class this semester, I’m using a flickr blog to post assignments, support students, and give them a place to support each other. I’ve made that part of the course. But it is really hard for them, because they are rarely trusted with their own learning. Last semester, during my web design class, the kids produced the most amazing work I have every seen using opensource products like Moodle, PMWiki, and LAMP. Trust and clear goals are an amazing thing.

The problem is that to truly get to the next step, wholesale changes needs to be made in the entire curriculum. I was discussing this with a teacher yesterday, and he said, I need to adhere to the content because if I change my course too much, next year, the teachers will be saying, that must be teacher x’s kids. A teacher who could help kids find their passions crammed into a curriculum.

High standards: Yes
High expectations: Yes
Clear goals: Yes
Covering content for the sake of content: No

Until Tomorrow.

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