empowering learners to self-organize from the start
- Check our social media status and calendar
- Respond to emails from a portable device, usually a phone
- Review our schedules on the same device
- Check a weather app or “Ask Siri” if we will need an umbrella today
- Check out the latest news via a favorite news app or review whatever our RSS Feed has pushed to us since last night.
And, for a good number of us, this all happens before we even take one step out of bed in the morning. You see, as adults, we self-organize and self-determine our daily work and life activities using technology and involving other humans as we see fit.
Yet where or HOW did we learn to balance using technology with the human element?
It certainly did not happen during our public education experiences. Think back to your school days. If they were like mine, you were told what to do. Handed a worksheet. Given a “Review Packet” before the big test. As an adult, when you hear a bell ring, you likely flashback to images of hundreds of your classmates and you filing into a crowded hallway and rushing to the next class before the late bell sounded. (This was the early version of the “Information Super Highway!”)
There was little to no self-organization, or student agency as we refer to it today in our schools. It's not your fault nor was it mine; it is just the way schools were organized in the early 1900s, when more and more children in this country began to attend school. Enter the Industrial Era of schools, the stacking and racking of students by their manufacture dates. Efficiency reined supreme when it came to designing the educational experience.
Today, as we explore customizing education or the powerful combination of technology and the human element, we’re really talking about returning to that pre-Industrial Age one-room schoolhouse feel. We’re reimagining education so that operational efficiency and accountability do not override what’s best for our learners. We’re talking about how to give learners more opportunities to self-organize – without giving up the control and accountability we need in a school with hundreds of learners.
We believe there are ways we can make a dent in the lock-step approach to public education, and we are excited to start talking about these with you in the coming weeks. From Curriculum Mapping, to Voice & Choice to Structures, we will be writing and talking about three areas that can help us recapture the one-room feel for our learners.
Stay tuned … and share your thoughts with us, starting with this: What do you believe is the “Ideal Learning Experience” for today’s students? And what do we need to do to make it so?