(I’ve got some formal writing on the School 2.0 concept coming due, and I’m having a heck of a time putting my thoughts out on the page coherently, so I’m going to take some of the ideas that have been rooting around in my head, some older ideas I’ve put out here, some ideas others have said, and some of the quotes Steve put up from our interview, and see if I can start to put something intelligent together. Forgive me if this feels a) a little rambling or b) a little undeveloped.)
It’s really not about the computers. School 2.0 is older than that. School 2.0 is the tradition of Dewey. School 2.0 is born out of the idea that active, engaged, constructivist learning will lead to active, engaged students and people.
It’s about the pedagogy.
Too much educational software just attempts to turn these really powerful devices into the next version of the workbook. That’s criminal.
Computers and internet technology should allow us create, to communicate and to research.
They should allow us to spend less time anything that is not directly related to teaching and learning. We should digitize as many processes as we can — as long as they make it easier for teachers to do what they need to do — as long as it allows teachers to maximize the time they spend with kids.
They should allow us to bypass the parts of the school day that didn’t matter and get more quickly into analysis. For example, we just got our digital microscopes at SLA. Students will be able to pull the images they see under the microscope directly into their lab reports on the computer and then label the digital photo. I used to spend hours trying to draw what I saw — and because I’m a terrible artist, my lab reports became about my lousy rendition of cells as much as it was about what I knew.
School 2.0 recognizes that our walls have broken down — and that’s a good thing. Our knowledge, our ideas, our communication is no longer bound by the walls of our school or the hours of our school day.
School 2.0 believes deeply in the old Dewey quote: "If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow."
It comes from the notion that the "factory model" of education is flawed. So’s the "banking method." We’re not just trying to move kids through, and we’re not just trying to fill them up. Time is a precious commodity in our schools, and we need to recognize that the things that are worth doing — worth teaching — take time.
It means understanding that facts, information, skills, meaning and wisdom are different, and that each one is valuable. But it also means understanding that facts and information used to be the top of the hierarchy where as now, skills, meaning and wisdom need to be. And it means that we as educators have to understand that meaning and wisdom are co-created.
School 2.0 means creating schools that reflect the world we live in today and creating schools that teach adaptability so that we can prepare for the world we will live in tomorrow.
It means understanding that the kids might often know how to use the new tools better than we do… or that they can certainly adapt to them faster than many of us can, but it means understanding how and why you use them… understanding the ethics behind using them… just became one of the most important lessons we can teach.
It means understanding that our students are content consumers and content creators… and learning what that means and the ramifications of that new paradigm is something every 21st century teacher and administrator must consider.
It means understanding that in our day, we passed notes in class and hoped they never got discovered. Today, the notes are posted on MySpace. The dichotomy between public and private spaces has broken down, and — as a result — all the post-modern theory about identity just became real. So now we have to help our students understand that — more than ever before in our history — we are the stories we tell, and we have to ask them, help them to analyze their own stories and consider how they want to present themselves to the world.
School 2.0 is about process as much as it is about product.
It’s about collaboration — it’s about understanding that we are more than the sum of our parts. It’s about understanding that my ideas will be made better if I listen to your ideas. And it recognizes that your ideas could influence me no matter where you live, as long as we both have access to a blog or a wiki.
And as a result — it’s really messy.
And none of this makes school easier. If anything, it makes it harder, because there isn’t as clear a road map. There is no cookie-cutter. It’s personal, it’s community-based, it’s relevant and it changes constantly.
And it’s controversial because, despite the dour headlines in the media, and despite the proclamations of CEOs everywhere, our job is not to create the 21st Century workforce. It’s our job to co-create the 21st Century citizen. Creating workers is not even half the job. We have to help our kids to become thinkers, scholars, activists, creators, scientists. We need to help them make sense of the world, even if we don’t have much of a handle on it ourselves. If we do that — if we help them to become the best people and citizens they can be, we’ll have a pretty amazing workforce too. But let’s never forget that creating the next generation of workers is not anywhere close to an important enough goal.
Anyone want to add to the list?