Monday, March 31, 2008

The End of School?

Dean Shareski writes in " The End of Religion and The End of School"

“Personal Learning comes as a subversive education model outside the boundary markers of traditional schooling, and in the process makes school itself obsolete.”

This is a retooling of a quote from the book: The End of Religion. He goes on to say:

Without getting into too much detail about his talk and book, it became apparent to me that what many are fighting for is to not necessarily abandon school but to eliminate the structure and traditions of school that interfere with learning. This is hard work.

those of us working inside these institutions recognize that the boundaries imposed on us by the very structure of the organizations aren’t very effective. The structure of current schools was developed largely in an industrial age where it met a particular need at a particular time. So too did the religious structures. Jesus came to change that. In schools our need for change is precipitated by many things certainly access to information and people being a major force. Just as with many churches that are not purely focused on their religiosity, neither are all schools focused on schooliness. There are moments, individuals and leaders looking to make school more about learning and less about structure. When it comes to my specific role as someone charged with making technology seamless in our schools, it’s clear to me that just as there are those bound by structures of school there are those who see often see technology as the structure we ought to believe in. At times I’m guilty of this.
What do I like most about his post? These following sentences:

I need to see that learning is the goal. Okay so this may seem obvious but in the daily grind it’s easy to become the Pharisees of modern education. We have difficulty when students don’t respond to school the way we think they ought to. Personal learning has little place in many of our classrooms. The frustrations of those of us who recognize this hypocrisy grows every day. We are looking for someone who can change this. Someone with authority who can break down the traditions and structure that so often bind us from what learning should look like.
He suggests expanding your network of ideas. I continually do. I would like a better network here. I would like others to recognize what I have been reading, to expand their research, and increase their networks. Isolation can kill change.

I know a handful of students who understand what I am talking about and have let go of school structure to be a learner. They probably did not need me to do that. How do I convince other students of all the possibilities that being a true learner can offer? More importantly, how do I convince the parents? I don't think they get it either.

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