Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to Pull It All Together

I found this book fascinating. The basic argument of disruption theory has been built so carefully and on such solid ground. In addition viewing education through the spectacles of Disruption Theory provides a fresh view of age-old problems. Then as I started each new chapter, every one seemed like it would be boring and uninformative But every chapter wowed me. I got as far as the Early Childhood Development piece, and was totally stunned by the insights and information that was offered. I cannot imagine how the Federal Government could formulate a program that would effectively implement the goals and objectives as outlined in this book.

But in quick summary, what I pulled from the book is contradictory:
  1. The "disruptive" forces of change seem unstoppable. They seem to be operating outside of our areas of control. They seem inevitable;
  2. The development of technology and effective computer software is happening and is proceeding at its own rate of speed. Hopefully it is gaining speed. The computer driven products are improving;
  3. The need for our children to development all of their own ingelligences in their own way and at their own speed seems so obvious and necessary;
  4. The current mono-lithic structures within which education abides are daunting. They are powerful and they grind away relentlessly. It is hard to imagine how to chip away at them over the short term; and
  5. With the large monolithic structure that is education as we know it, comes huge barriers to entry. With entrenched interdependency, budget constraints, a powerful teachers' union, the pressures for immediate measurable results, standardized testing, and the "caretaker" role that schools play while parents work, it is hard to imagine "flipping" these powerful forces for student-centric, computer driven learning.

It seems that change is coming and it is coming quickly. When I look out over the next 5 to 10 years, it is clear that a massive disruption and transformation is on the horizon. But it is difficult for me to envision what steps we should take now that will most prepare us for what is coming. It reminds of the old proverb, "when elephants fight, mice get trampled." I am deeply concerned that if we aren't careful the children of our communities will suffer. My response to this book is not so much one of fearing the change, but wanting to understand it better, so we can best manage it as it comes. That is what I will seek to uncover during tomorrow's discussion. Iam looking for ideas at the very least, and an operational framework at the very most. These ARE interesting times.

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