When Worlds Collide

Most people are willing to concede the world is changing for the better.  Education is changing. I tend to agree and I also think our students would benefit from some additional urgency and intentionality on our part.

We have opportunities to connect and learn from others that were unfathomable a decade ago.  We simply need to accelerate the merger between how ‘school’ has always been done and what it needs to be for our kids.

The evolution of technology has unleashed new levels of learning, creativity, content-creation, and sharing.  However, pedagogy has not been as nimble.  We have barely begun to scratch the surface of how ‘traditional best-practice’ should co-mingle with the digitally connected age.  We need these two worlds to collide.

This week I attended an EdCamp Leadership Conference in Chicago where I co-facilitated a session that delved into this very topic.  As part of the session we integrated some quadcopters and robotics, but the primary focus was on learning and connectivity.

The picture below doesn’t begin to describe the depth of the conversations that transpired.  However, if you click HERE you can read a reflective piece by Jeff Herb who was also part of the session.

EdCamp Leader Chicago 2015

The energy and sense of wonderment in the session were palpable.  This had me reflecting on the degree to which we are giving traditional best-practice a ‘free pass.’  Are we more prone to question and criticize new ideas, technology, and innovations than we are to examine the status quo?  Sometimes it feels as if past-practice has been placed in a protected vacuum chamber that absolves it from any scrutiny whatsoever.

What if we were able to realize a breakthrough and find a way to merge the digitally connected age with best-practice? What if we created a culture of innovation and risk-taking that made it OK to question things we’ve always done in schools?

Analyzing every inefficiency.

Advocating for students before we thought about maintaining the predictable practices we’ve come to accept as the only way.

How far could we go?

How deep would the learning and relevance be?

What’s the best thing that could happen?

Are you with me?!

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About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at www.BradGustafson.com or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on July 16, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Not being a K-12 educator there’s probably significant pieces of the puzzle I’m missing. What does stand-out is best practice. In my two years long EdCamp experience I’ve learned there is considerable variability in schools: staffing, technology, student population, etc. In this lens best practice loses meaning. What is best practice in one school may have no chance of success at another, because of these differences. How to enable leaps of innovation? Design thinking across classes of schools maybe; classes of schools with high tech, low tech, no tech. Anyway, my weird idea of the day.

    • Great questions and your assessment of best-practice is accurate in that context is critical. What works in one school may not meet the needs of students in a different school. Similarly, the viability of different approaches might be right in one setting but a different ‘fit’ may be needed in another. Perhaps the single ‘best-practice’ of all is an innovative growth mindset. When we are constantly learning we can better respond to students’ needs regardless of setting. ~Brad

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