Since I won’t be with the CHC staff hosting Webspiration Wednesday lunches, I thought I would institute TED Talk Tuesday and share an inspiring TED Talk each Tuesday with all of you. TED has a great tag line “ideas worth spreading”. This non-profit brings together people from Technology, Entertainment, and Design. (The scope of the talks is actually much, much wider.) TED.com is a free collection of the very best talks with new talks are being added all the time. TED believes “passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.”
Todays TED Talk Tuesday is dedicated to Sir Ken Robinson. You may remember this Webspiration Wednesday sharing of Sir Ken’s Schools Kill Creativity. This is Sir Ken Robinson’s newest TED Talk, Bring on the Learning Revolution.
Sir Ken Robinson has such a way with words, the message he shares is profound. I agree with the summation that reform is of no use, the evolution of a broken model isn’t going to get us where we need to go. We need a revolution where education is transformed into something else entirely. I have watched this video several times since its release, about a month ago, and each time I am struck by something new. This time what stood out most for me was the talk about innovation. Innovation is hard because it means doing something that is challenging, it isn’t the easy or obvious solution. It challenges what we take for granted, things that seem obvious. Just before beginning this post, I read an excellent article by Blogging Alliance member Chris at EdTechSwami. He writes: What Educators Can Learn From Steve Jobs. I think Chris makes some excellent points in his post, it all comes back to innovation. Apple doesn’t usually do the expected, in fact sometimes they purposefully step away from what is expected and what seems logical. The reason is that they are finding new solutions and even creating new problems. They are looking to the future and anticipating what is coming next. Sir Ken helps us to see that innovation is difficult because there are so many things in this life that we take for granted. We don’t even think about them any more because they are the way that we expect them to be. It is only when someone comes along and points out a new way of doing something that we realize we have been taking it for granted. In schools we take for granted that there is a linearity to education. We start in kindergarten and move through until we reach the 12th grade, at which point we are encouraged to attend college. What else do we take for granted in education? Classrooms, grades, tests, desks, handwriting, curriculum, blackboards (IWB’s), policy makers, NCLB…
Today I was able to join in on the midday Twitter #edchat discussion. The topic was reform in education and how teachers could be a louder voice. The discussion was a great one with a number of good ideas. I wonder if we are approaching the topic in an innovative enough way? We tend to frame our answers with what we think might be possible. We frame our answers so as to play nice in the policy makers game. What if we didn’t do things their way? What if we came up with a new way? What if we taught kids how to be advocates for their education and learning and gave them a voice? I threw this out there during the #edchat and @bliarteach reminded me of the big push there was for learning about recycling in school. Kids became passionate about recycling and saving the earth, they took it home with them. Soon families were recycling and changing their garbage habits. This worked. I was one of those kids who made my mom wash every piece of aluminum foil so that I could bring it to school and add it to our big ball of recycled foil. I was the kid who was adamant about separating plastic, glass, and paper. I became the adult who still does this. Involving kids in advocating for their own education and learning has the added benefit of helping them to realize the importance of their education. Suddenly they aren’t learning because we tell them to, they are learning because they believe in learning. They have a pride and ownership in their own education. The great thing about involving kids in the discussion is that they don’t take so much for granted. They ask questions and challenge the way that we think.
So, lets figure out all the things we take for granted in education. When we have a clear picture of those things, lets work together to find new solutions. Lets revolutionize education together, lets make the revolution viral. If you can think of something that we take for granted, leave it in the comments below.
(Raise of hands, how many of you are wearing a wrist watch?) 🙂 Yeah, me too.