Sunday, March 15, 2009

School 2.0

There's a short little You Tube clip titled Did You Know 2.0 that really gives us something to think about. It's too bad that the people who most need it would only see it if it was sent in the mail - postal service mail, that is.

It is very frustrating to be living in a time of such great change and rapid innovation but to be unable to put it to use other than as something to fool around with in the evenings. I think it's one of the big reasons I've decided to go into teaching.

The technology is out there and young people certainly have the interest, but so many adults are content to let it just drift by. Many even feel quite self-righteous about letting it drift by. Schools begrudgingly allow the internet to be used for information retrieval, but in the meantime the wired world has blown on by to a whole new level. Now the focus is on collaboration and connection, on finding new ways to share information with as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible, and with the greatest social benefit possible.

How many teachers and librarians are still grumbling about the unreliability of Wikipedia and its "come one, come all" approach? How many of them really understand what it is and how it works? Or, at a deeper level, the theories about why it works the way it does and what those theories can tell us about connections and groups and education?

In the meanwhile, time is marching on. Remember physics class? Every student passing through the door of a classroom is a bundle of potential energy and the sad thing is how infrequently we serve as the restoring force that sets loose the kinetic energy stored inside. Each student set in motion makes their own contribution to the positive feedback loop, and has the potential to pass it on to everyone they study with, work with or live with throughout their lives: the chain reaction starts here.

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