Just finished reading Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the...
by Clayton M. Christensen.
It is an interesting read about school and educational reform that clearly highlights the problems that we now face. The message in a nut-shell is that we need to move to a more customized, personalized education system that may look nothing like the 19th and 20th century industrial model that we currently possess. Christensen argues that the heart of the problem lies in standardization - the polar opposite of personalization. (As I was finishing this book it was interesting to see current media coverage
about the possible NAPLAN boycott in 2010.)
A more personalized educational system will require a fundamental, architectural shift that will involve combining subjects, reordering who does what and even having flexible school hours.
He states, "If we acknowledge that all children learn differently, then the way schooling is currently arranged - in a monolithic batch mode system where all students are taught the same things on the same day in the same way - won't ever allow us to educate children in customised ways. We need a modular system."
I agree. Open content or modular learning will free the teacher from being a major developer of resources (reinventing the wheel – teacher centred) to devoting more time to being a supporter of the learning. (learner-centred) This is the type of learning that we need more of. Gone are the days where the teacher can stand up the front and lecture to students who are content to be passive recipients of information. Technology will be
the great enabler and while access to technology is increasing in schools, "...schools use computers as a tool and a topic, not as a primary instructional mechanism that helps students learn in ways that are customized to their type of intelligence."
We need to make the shift but it will require disruptive innovation.
Christensen shares - "At every crossway on the road that leads to the future each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand men appointed to guard the past."
Is it possible to beat these men into the ground? Or is it enough to just sneak past? Either way..... Interested to hear your thoughts.