Disrupting Class —

Disrupting Class is definitely in my top few from the past few years.  The book has changed the way I think about education and education change.  It has provided a road map for the future.  Models to experiment with, and a clear way to test those models of change.

I want this post to be short and sweet, so here’s a quick list of highlights.

  • Christensen defines how businesses are displaced by disruptive technologies in the theory of disruptive innovation: The MiniComputer by the PC/MAC; The SLR camera by the The Kodak point and shoot camera; and the vacuum tube radio by the transistor radio.  Christensen sees that online learning that is customized by the learner style is the future and predicts that “by 2019, about 50% of high school courses will be offered online” (p. 98).
  • We should all be offering online courses to our students and testing alternatives in our existing schools is places where there is no competition such as APs and/or classes that are not offered already.
  • To truly see the change, we will need to have school created outside the dominant system, such as charter and private schools where schools can be left to experiment and define this new type of schooling, find success and then bring it back to mainstream schools.  His business example is the Toyota Prius that was created in an external business unit and then brought back into Toyota’s factories to be built.

When I look back, a number of books fit in the changing my lens on education: Good to Great helped me see the importance of leaders and structures of successful organization planning; Now, Discover Your Strengths helped me see my strengths and how to best use them; Cluetrain Manifesto and The World is Flat helped me see the power of openness and how Internet communications have changed the world;  In A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink helped me see that the types of skills traditional schools teach are the building blocks, but not the end game skills that our students need; and now Disrupting Class has has given me the lens of effective organizational change.  All of these books provide unique and simple ways of looking at problems, clear and articulate writing that include stories as examples, and significant basis in human development and psychology.

Christensen ends the book by stating,

“These technologies and organizational innovations are not threats.  They are exciting opportunities to make learning intrinsically motivating, that make teaching professionally rewarding, and that transform our schools from being economic and political liabilities to sources of solutions and strength.

Thanks, Clayton Christensen, for inspiring me.  I look forward to testing your theories.  Thanks to Vinnie Vrotny for the recommendation.

For all of you, head to Amazon and pick this one up.

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6 thoughts on “Disrupting Class —

  1. I’m just over halfway through the book. It’s amazing how tightly many of the concepts align with discussions and initiatives I’m currently involved with. In many ways, he articulates some key ideas that have been roaming around my brain for a while.

  2. Dean — Thanks for the comment. Yes, it is that he articulates the points. In the second half of the book, he gives an example of Intel execs studying his last book, and how they used it to fight off AMD in the processor war. He argued that having a common vocabulary helped them succeed. I believe that that is the case here.

    Curt Johnson just agreed to be on our webcast on 12/4 @2:15 EST — We’ll also have Scott McLeod on 11/13. Going to be some interesting conversations.

  3. Hey, Alex, great blog! I look forwar to reading the book. I think when classes are totally under control, something is not fine 🙂 Some dusruption is necessary to produce learning, and maybe this is the problem of traditional classes. Some teachers want to have it all under control, but it is at the expense of fun, motivation and enjoyable opportunities for learning. I’ll add you to my blog to follow your readings 🙂

  4. I had the opportunity to see Curtis Johnson as the keynote speaker at the APLUS (Association of Personalized Learning Schools & Services) conference a couple of weeks back http://www.theaplus.org/index.html.

    I don’t think that many of the conference attendees even knew who he was, but I was impressed that they pulled in such a topical and relevant keynote speaker.

    Anyways, he said he felt like he was preaching to the choir, but I still walked away inspired and reinvigorated by his message.

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