I often wonder – is it out there?
Is there some disruption that I just haven’t noticed?
Are we really just tinkering around the edges?
Is my friend Yong Zhao right – have we just maximized the old system and not really considered how we move to the new system?
I have 186 posts tagged “change” (actually 187 after this one) with them speaking to the small and large transformations happening around us in education. In recent posts I have looked at topics including the changing role of technology, new curriculum in British Columbia that is focused on big ideas and core competencies, and reporting changes that attempt to give better and more timely feedback to students and parents.
As I write these posts, I find myself reading more about the changes happening around us outside of education. I try to get my head around the future of transportation in an era of autonomous cars, the future of medicine when the services of a doctor and hospital can largely be carried out at home through digital medicine, and the state of our world if 100 becomes the new 60.
And while some of these changes are still hard to bring to focus, we have so many examples of shifts in industry all around us. There are many long lists available showing all of these changes. I know when I buy a book I go to Amazon not my local retailer. When I want to look for used items for sale I search Craigslist not the Classifieds. In Denver a few weeks ago, I never thought of getting a taxi, and Uber was my go-to. Our television conversations are less and less about cable and more and more about Netflix. And just a couple of months ago a friend showed me airbnb (I am a little behind) and I can’t see why I would go back to looking for travel accommodations in the old ways anymore.
And that brings me back to education. If you have followed my posts, or heard me speak, I often make the point that in this rapid change happening around teaching, learning and schools, there is some satisfaction and relief that schools are not looking largely different. We find it reassuring. Schools also perform a crucial role as a community gathering place and the skills are really more about how we live and get along with each other as they are about some finite academic outputs.
That said, I wonder if I am missing something. Or maybe rationalizing. I imagine those in other disrupted fields also thought it couldn’t happen to them. I did think that the Khan Academy might be the disruption to our K-12 system. The Khan Academy has many of the features associated with other disruptions – being free, digital and widely available. I think the Khan Academy is interesting and important, but it is not our Uber.
I am left wondering, are we the exception to the rule? Is there enough in the value of education the way it is largely done now to allow it to continue to survive and thrive or am I missing something.
This kind of thinking can make your head hurt. It is time to go back to thinking about school timetables, textbooks and the kind of desks we want for our classes. It is far less scary.