Ryan Bretagâ€™s recent post â€¦Arenâ€™t Good Enough has hit a cord with me. I commented on the post, but felt the need for a longer response. Ryan speaks to two issues that have been haunting him for some time;
- Pockets of Greatness arenâ€™t Good Enough
- Learning spaces that live and die with the teacher arenâ€™t Good Enough
Now I cling to these pockets of greatness or excellence as a sign of hope. There are days I am so overwhelmed by the disconnect between where we are and where we need to be; that I must immerse myself in these spaces to know that there is hope and the message is getting through somewhere. But Ryan is correct they are not good enough.
These pockets of excellence are for the most part teacher driven. The learning environment that is set up comes and goes at the will of the teacher or the end of the class. Ironically these learning environments are not learner centered. Learning is a continuous process therefore the environment in which it takes place should be continuous and fluid. I know that I and my colleagues have struggled with this notion over the last few years. These are some of the questions we frequently discuss:
- How do we get teachers/administrators to use and see the value of these tools for themselves and their students? (In my opinion Hurdle #1)
- How do we break the factory style of compartmentalized learning that our current structure and assessment system demands?
- How do we create a fluid learner centered learning environment that can work with the outside/internal assessment system? (Oh to be able to change how we assess learning!!!)
- How to create a learner center environment that can maintain the privacy and security of learners? (Hurdle #2 â€“ fear of the tools is a big factor for administrators and school attorneys)
- What does this environment look like? (For me it is hard to sell the vision if I am not sure what I see, right now this is kind of blurry. This is my personal stumbling block)
So what do I seeâ€¦.
Really I have no clear idea? I have written this part of the post about 6 times now. I think I will need to sort it out some more and share some of the blurry visions later. I keep finding myself still stuck in the box.
For now first thoughts, questions really?
Do we give students & teachers access to a suite of tools (email, wikis, blogs, various content creation tools) when they enter the system and can keep using long after they leave?
Do we then let teachers access the relevant pieces through RSS?
Do we have groups of students & teachers, function as learning teams. Working through the standards, in an integrated, project based environment? Just throw out the schedule and let the teams do with their time and tools as the learning and student need demands.
I would really love to catch a glimpse of otherâ€™s visions for this learning environment. I know what I am working toward in the short term. But really it is the long term vision that will keep me moving forward. I have got to clear the fog.