Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I love it when I am challenged to think

As per normal, I was lying in bed checking out my Twitter stream last night at around 10:00pm. It is pretty sad that this is one of my bedtime routines. I troll my stream, bookmark anything of value on my Samsung Galaxy SII phone and generally settle in for the evening. Most of the stuff that I bookmark, I never use again. I just like having it in a spot that I know I can refer back to in the future. An blog post by Steve Wheeler came across my stream and I was intrigued but didn't pay much attention. I had some time this morning and I revisited it and I was glad that I did.

The article was titled Outrageous Alternatives.  The article started with a bang when his first line was:

What is the most outrageous alternative education scenario you could imagine?
In my head, I thought "Kids being experts in areas and teachers becoming non existent."   But luckily for me I was entirely wrong.  The blog post went on to explore the different alternatives to our current education system and analysed the methods that have already been explored in the past.  It was a fascinating looking down memory lane and it was thought provoking.  He then went on to describe a model of schooling called Deschooling.  His synopsis of what Deschooling entails is that students should have freedom to be matched with other students who are exploring similar concepts from any place at any time.  Steve also went on to state

Under the current funding regimes of mass public education, and in the present ethos of rigid curricula and control freakery of Western governments, trying to formalise something like this is difficult. But when we consider that 80 per cent of what we learn is achieved primarily outside the school gates, I am sure we might agree there are some potential loopholes to exploit.
It is true.  As educators we are bound by curriculum and external pressures such as standardized testing and things as such.  I am currently undertaking a MOOC titled Change11.  This massively open online course encourages us to spread our wings, creating our networks and interact with our fellow participants in ways that suit our learning styles.  If we can do this as adults, surely we can provide opportunities for our students to learn in these ways.  So what is stopping us?  Apart from the obvious stuff, I think it is a mindset.  We like to think that we are in control and are the 'Grand Phooba' of knowledge.  This is why the flipped model of instruction appeals to me.  How awesome would it be if my kids could access expertise from a fellow educator from anywhere around the world on any topic?  I am not saying that I will entirely 'flip' my classroom but I am going to try and use it effectively in some curriculum areas.   This utopia vision may not happen perfectly for us but if we don't start thinking about it, we never will.

As per normal, I would love to hear your thoughts

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