From Drift to Shift: Celebrating the Transformation of Education
On this day of blogging to highlight the great things happening in classrooms, I’d like to suggest a shift in how we frame the day. Reforming a century-old model is not enough. Let us celebrate transforming education at the dawn of a new age. And even more importantly in my mind, let's emphasize this is not something to embrace or avoid…..it’s something to recognize as simply happening right before us.
Education transformation is already occurring worldwide, and Americans are in the uncomfortable position of having to play catch-up because of its global nature. We can't hold it back by legislating it, financing it, or politicizing it. There's no sandbagging tidal transformation.
We can witness it worldwide:
In Beijing, China where Julie Lindsay flattens classrooms using Web 2.0 tools to help students connect globally with others http://123elearning.blogspot.com/
In Mexico City where Fernando Fuentes works with his students using GIS with his students to learn geography, history and civics: http://geografiaenmovimiento.blogspot.com/
In Birmingham, England where Richard Healey and Jenny Ellwood use handheld devices for teaching and learning with their students: http://www.learnextreme.com/wordpress
In Mumbai, India where Dr. Shabbi Luthra implements a vision of one-to-one learning that requires new kinds of technology leadership: http://paradigmshift21.edublogs.org/
In Pak Kret, Nonthaburi, Thailand where Jeff Utecht moves teachers and students from being consumers to producers of knowledge http://www.thethinkingstick.com/
In Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia where Roger Pryor creates and supports collaborative online working spaces for schools: http://pryorcommitment.com
In Accra, Ghana where Harry Tetteh works with social media to help students connect with peers from around Africa and around the world: http://harrykt.blogspot.com
In Bradford, Ontario, Canada where Mali Bickley and Jim Carleton lead collaborative real-world projects between their students and students around the world: http://iearn-canada.org/
In Santa Tecla, El Salvador where Jennifer Garcia models for students how to use social media for learning networks in effective research http://abcict.wikispaces.com/
And in Netanya, Israel where Dr. Nellie Deutsch has established an open community of online learners that promotes learning and collaboration worldwide http://www.integrating-technology.org/
You know of many more examples of education transformation happening in your schools and in partnering schools around the world. It is washing over us even as I write these words, even as you read them. Imagine it as a reverse continental drift; seven continents coming together to form an Information Age Pangaea. Plates are shifting, foundations are rumbling, and existing views of the world are crumbling. It is up to us how well we acclimate to this new world. Ideally, it continues through grass-roots innovation that pushes our educational institutions to eventually catch up. Regardless of how well we adapt, it's happening with or without us.
During this week of American Thanksgiving, let’s look beyond our borders and celebrate living in a global marketplace of ideas and opportunities. As the transformational tide washes over us, it renews our passion for learning even as it quenches our thirst for knowledge....communal knowledge....the fuel of future innovation.