Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Talk of revolution

It seems that both the Liberal and the Labour governments have an educational vision for our country that looks like the rear of the dog in front of them.

Professor David Loader in this 17 minute interview about Schools for the 21st Century makes this point. The interview starts at about the 15 minute mark in this 'Life Matters' program. His title of Professor indicates that he is well recognised in the profession. He has been a school principal and teacher and is aged in his mid sixties so his experience is extensive. He is advocating a revolution in education, an idea that I am wanting to entertain.

He talks about loosing the cyber-generation if we don't. His ideas have the potential for disrupting power in our society and placing it back into the hands of small flexible, dynamic units.

He challenges the idea of class groupings, the hierarchical structure of schools, and the need for school Principals and formal leadership structures. He talks about having parents more involved and with much greater responsibility. He talks about perhaps adopting a paradigm of a shopping center or somethings else to replace the current model.

While listening to this interview I made a number of connections with some of my previous posts and reading.

Sardines and the Whales
He acknowledged that he was swimming in a different direction to most like the sardines that get the school to change direction. The other relationship is that I believe that he thinks that the current education system is like a whale and he is proposing that the revolution of education results in it becoming a school of agile sardines.

Geetha Narayanan
Geetha Narayanan's presentation titled “A Dangerous but Powerful Idea - Counter Acceleration and Speed with Slowness and Wholeness” published in The Knowledge Tree. Geetha thinks that school reform is impossible. She thinks that schools need to be broken up into small units as one part of the revolution of education globally. This needs to be coupled with a range of other changes.

Geetha made reference to the “Lifelong Kindergarten Research Lab” which involves the use of Scratch which I documented here and here. The principles underpinning their Computer Clubhouse are worthy of attention.
  1. supporting learning through design experiences
  2. helping youth build on their own interests
  3. creating an emergent learning community, and
  4. working always in a climate of trust and respect.

She states
The Project Vision hypothesis breaks the form of schools, moving from that of a cathedral and/or large corporate monolith into small places eg. shop fronts. They are not purpose built but occupy spaces/crevices that integrate with, and operate, at various levels of scale in a city. The structural form advocated is that of community learning centres and ateliers or studios, not that of the contemporary modern schools
Only one laughing
If educators or ignorant and uninvolved with the tools that students are using, then they are also going to be blind to where things seem to be heading and why there needs to be change.

David Loader briefly discussed the education policies of both major political parties (Liberal and Labour) as we approach the federal election. Nothing inspiring there. He argues that both of these parties are caught in the past and are too far back in the pack to see anything but the rear of the lead dog. What vision.

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