I often hear people talk about the drastic changes needed in education to prepare students for their future. However, I tend to believe that the right people to do the job are already in our schools. To respond to the needs of the 21st century student we need subtle shifts in thinking and pedagogy. These subtle shifts will lead to transformational results.
Just. Like. Skydiving.
I had the opportunity to go indoor skydiving with a couple friends in Chicago recently. Our experience in the immense wind-tunnel was a pure adrenaline rush. Although the skydiving took place indoors the speed and force of the air blasting upwards was very real.
Indoor skydiving wind-tunnels are capable of blasting air that reaches speeds of 175+ mph. I found the mechanics of this high octane sport fascinating. The air speeds are so intense that super slight adjustments to body position can lead to jolting movements.
When I was in the standard neutral belly position (chin up and arms out) a subtle adjustment of my hands could have propelled me into a 360 degree rotation. This subtle shift in my wrists would have been indiscernible to the casual onlooker, but it could have had me resembling a human helicopter blade!
Understanding the impact of subtle shifts is critical in skydiving; it’s critical in education too.
The proper subtle shifts can lead to a transformative experience. Be sure to watch the two minute video of our indoor skydiving adventure that’s embedded above. (The end of the video contains raw footage of our highly trained instructors applying the principle of ‘subtle shifts’ that led to a jaw-dropping aerial acrobatic show.)
What subtle shifts do YOU think our students deserve?
Share your thoughts in the comments section. I started with a few subtle shifts in thinking that will serve our students well:
- How can I enhance the frequency and depth of collaboration in my classroom or school?
- In what ways can I give up more control so that students truly own their learning?
- How might we tap into the transformational power of technology to move beyond the prevailing belief that an interactive whiteboard is the pinnacle of technology integration.
- Am I teaching a lesson or facilitating a lasting learning experience for students?