Scaling up a flawed system…

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I wrote a single thing on the back of a paper at a meeting today:

Scaling a system that exists vs. Creating a different system that includes networked learning.

What I meant by this I am not exactly sure (nor can I talk about all of the good and hopeful things that transpired during the meeting, either). All I know is that we shouldn’t be looking to make our current teaching model work in more and bigger ways. We should not be extending traditional pedagogy into online environments. We should not be taking something that no longer works for one school and then trying to emulate it for all schools.

I guess it makes sense to say this as well:

Just because a system can scale doesn’t mean that it should. And just because a system can’t scale, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to someone. While I believe that all of our learning should be scalable, that doesn’t mean that we need to have every learner doing the exact same thing. Creating multiple entrances makes sense. There is no one ring to rule them all. We need spaces that work for every single one, not “everyone”.

Forgive my obtuse discourse tonight. I am having trouble with getting concrete at the moment. I hope you glean some meaning from the words. If not, I will try again tomorrow.

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  1. Makes perfect sense. Personalized learning, differentiation, and customization are the hallmarks of the learning revolution. Standardization was for the industrial age, not the 21st century. You’re on the right track. Sorry to hear others you’re working with/meeting with may not be.

  2. Your comment made me think of a frightening thing I saw in my school today. I’m not sure that it’s 100% related but I think it might be (somehow).

    Let me give you the background before I share my fear…I have been working with two of my math teachers as they gave their students the challenge of teaching their peers one of several topics. They were given the world in terms of options – anything they wanted to make or to use to get their point across (well, anything within reason) was permissible. We had kids creating movies, music, taking pictures of work they’d done on mini whiteboards, getting used to using the interactive whiteboard, etc.

    Here’s what scared me though…After making all these great materials to – theoretically – share their knowledge effectively with their peers, what did they do? They got up in front of the class, turned to face the board and lectured to it!

    How frightening is THAT? It makes me realize that no matter how magnificent the tools, no matter how ‘scalable’ the technology, our kids will share in the way they see US sharing. If day-in-and-day-out we stand up there and lecture at them, that’s what they’ll do when called to share in return. Even if they hate it when they’re sitting through it, they’ll do it too – because they copy what they’ve seen US do…

    I don’t think teachers need to be experts on every type of technology that exists but we DO need to craft our image carefully, vary our practice intelligently, and mentor continually or we’re doing a HUGE disservice to our kids.

    Okay, don’t know if that really applies to your comment about scalability…I guess I’m just trying to say that if we don’t make our teaching practices rich, varied, and innovative all the tech in the world (scalable or otherwise) won’t mean that much.

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