In a previous post, I discussed my hope that the report from the Premier’s Technology Council on A Vision for 21st Century Learning would lead to conversations around the province. My real goal is that the discussions go much deeper than the one report; rather, we have sustained, meaningful conversations about k-12 education focussed on ideas. I want to come back to this, with some more hopes. Here are some guidelines I hope these conversations and, really, all conversations we have about school reform, follow:
- If you want to participate, you have to put your name to ideas — we have way too many people, particularly in the digital space — posting anonymously. We need to say “this is not okay”. Everyone is welcome to participate — but put a name and face to be part of the conversation.
- There is value for ideas from inside the system (students, teachers, parents) as well as ideas from outside the system — it is really the ideas that matter.
- We agree there is no such thing as good guys and bad guys when it comes to education. That is the old way — education is far too important to cast some in white hats and others in black hats.
- We need to avoid saying “We can’t do X until ____ (fill in government, universities etc.) does Y”.
- We don’t use “We are already doing it” as a reason to end the conversation. While it may be true we are already doing it (fill in the progressive educational idea), we are usually not doing it consistently, in ways that we can assess how successful “it” is, throughout the system.
- We act with urgency (we see how quickly changes are happening around us) but not urgently (where changes are not fully discussed, and people are not fully engaged).
The optimism and curiosity that comes through in so much being written, right now, is very exciting. Hopefully, 2011 will be a year we find new ways to look at education, and use digital space to have big conversations about big ideas, and we move forward from ideas to action.