You say you want a revolution…

I really enjoyed reading Clarence Fisher’s recent post on why no one he knows has been fired over advocating connected learning (http://remoteaccess.typepad.com/remote_access/2009/01/the-death-of-bi.html). He makes some wonderful points about whether or not we are as revolutionary as we claim to be (as Edupunks or otherwise). His most interesting point though is the idea that there are no new ideas that are really sparking debate or lighting fires under people so that they really buck the system.
 
Well, I would say that he is right in many respects. Blogs just aren’t as hot button of an issue that they used to be. And, to a certain extent, educational technology has been coopted by many districts in order to show that they are moving in the right direction. I still wouldn’t go as far as saying that there are not (or have not been in the recent past) any revolutionary ideas in the edublogosphere.
 
The revolution is in the details now. It is in making things actually work for people. It may not be a single big idea, but in the articulation and execution. I can’t believe just how many new pieces I am putting together for the first time and how many barriers to learning I am breaking down for myself and others.
 
For example: Although I have blogged for nearly six years now, I am just now starting to leverage blogs for others in ways that actually make sense to them. Although I have been video conferencing since high school, it is just now possible to get people to meet without having to set up a place to hold us. And although I have tagged over 2500 bookmarks, I didn’t really understand how powerful tags can be for putting information at other’s fingertips.
 
In short, the big idea that is left is in bringing the power of learning networks to everyone. If he or anyone else has figured that one out, I will forever hold my blog.
 
And as for the big idea in the classroom, the one that will get you fired for sure:
 
Open everything. Grade nothing.
 
If anyone is willing to try and have all student projects be open and assign no grades whatsoever (in the hopes of actually providing an authentic learning experience), I wish them luck. I think the only reason why people aren’t getting fired more is that they know theirs schools are better places because of them and their kids are better off with them as their teachers. They won’t go after total openness because, to a certain extent, they can create more change if they create more and revolt less.
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