It seems everywhere I turn change is happening in schools. I read articles about technology initiatives, new standards, education reform, no tests, more tests, opt out, opt in, no homework, more homework, longer school days, shorter school days, LMS, MOOCs, blended learning, new apps, Google Apps, big data, social media, PLNs, education conferences (there is a lot), and the list goes on and on.
Now, more than ever before, there seems to be a groundswell of individuals, organizations, and institutions that are pushing education forward.
This is a good thing.
I’ve been one of those individuals advocating for student choice, inquiry-based learning, 20% time, Genius Hour, brain-friendly learning spaces, technology integration, 1:1 programs, gamified professional development, and so on. I believe in everything that I’ve advocated for…and I’ve done it, written about it, and shared.
This is also a good thing.
Now, in a new role as an administrator, I’m trying to see the forest from the trees. I’m trying to be in the “echo-chamber” and also on the fringe hearing what others have to say.
I’ve done this at other times in my life, but really taken some time to think about the big picture of education, and where we are headed vs. where we think we are headed.
All of the pushing and little changes matter. It seems we are all doing something…
My question is: What are we all doing together?
The “why” may differ slightly, but usually it comes back to “make a better learning experience for our students” (at least I hope it comes back to that reason).
But the “what we are doing” is fragmented. It’s scattered. I’m afraid that we’ll tread water, instead of pushing up stream, if we don’t swim together.
Is the role of K-12 education to prepare our kids for college? For careers? For life?
Or is the role of K-12 education to give our students as many opportunities and choices in their learning path once they leave our schools?
I want to look back and know that this current generation of teachers and leaders fought to make a better learning experience for our students. I want to look back and see how many doors have been opened for so many students because of the risks we all took and changes we pushed for…
When we come together, powerful things happen. Look at how Twitter has transformed connecting and collaborating between educators around the world. Look at how EdCamp has disrupted and improved professional development from the ground up. Look at how blogging has redefined the sharing of best and next practices.
Each of these changes started small. Then gained the support of hundreds and thousands of educators.
So, what’s next?
We’ve changed connecting and collaborating forever. We’ve changed professional development forever. We’ve changed sharing best practices forever.
I know myself. I’m a starter. I tend to start more projects that I can manage. I tend to have more ideas than I have time to think about them.
But sometimes, I need to be a first follower instead of a starter. My challenge to you is simple: What movement can we join to make real change like the examples I’ve used above?