Thursday, January 24, 2013

Let's Think Relevant Transformation

I remember a conversation I had with an administrator,  "Your problem, Marcia, is that you expect people to give up the lecture and the worksheets.   That's a perfectly fine way for lots of learners to learn the material.  Besides, the teachers aren't comfortable with new ways."

A second administrator, years later, disagreed,  "Word searches are no way to inspire anything but temporary knowledge.  If your books are all lost in a fire tonight,  what really matters?  What will you teach?"

And of course, one of the more influential voices in my head in the last five years has been through virtual conversations.  Specifically, I am referring to Scott McLeod, who has always reminded me about the students across the world who compete with my own.

It's time for Transformation.  Pick a direction.  

Using Your Cell Phone Navigator vs. Garmin vs. Mapquest

Students today are different. Teach them differently.  Trust them.  Get out of the way.  

How Accurate is Google Maps?

Tap Their Interests

An Easter Egg Hunt Using Google Earth

KMZ file

Make Sure What they Learn is Connected to their Life

How Foursquare Works

Move up the Bloom's Taxonomy

Which is Better?

Don't Teach Your Content in a Silo

Military Drones and GPS

It's 2013.  Don't Our Kids Deserve Relevant Learning?


  1. One of our biggest failings as school systems is that every year, every day, we ignore the numerous students who ask, "How is this relevant to me? Why should I care about this?"

    We can do better. But first we have to choose to do so.

  2. The worry I have, Scott, is that this new plan of Gov. Branstad puts into place new structures, but we'll still need another year or two to get into new ways of teaching. The teachers in buildings across the state that are likely to move up to be mentors will not be impartially determined on innovation and achievement. And that's because education is a messy business. How long will it take before ideas trump tradition?

  3. Even in a couple of years, whom we consider 'mentors' will not be those who are pushing the envelope. Change happens much more slowly than that. If you really want to be depressed, watch this video and listen to Richard Elmore talk about the resilience of teacher culture and the ability of school systems to defeat whatever innovations come their way...

  4. I can't say I'm surprised, but thanks for the video, Scott. Dr. Cherin Lee and I have talked about the pendulum swinging back and forth since the time of Rousseau when I comes to constructivism. I guess I must trust the resilience of children to learn over the resistance of adult educators, and hope each child gets a nonconformist along the way.