I have read Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen, Curtis W. Johnson, and Michael B. Horn and engaged in enough conversations in the edtech community to under that technology is disrupting the social, professional, political, financial, and cultural parts of our lives. I understand that we have to prepare students for what Will Richardson (2012) explains is “the world they will live in, not the one in which most of us grew up.” I agree with Richardon’s belief that school reform should be based on allowing technology to push the role of schools to be different instead of just better. Even though this was my first time reading “Why School?” by Will Richardson I already follow him on Twitter and have already been exposed to many of his ideas and the ones he shares with many people in the edtech community. Over the past few years, I have worked embrace this belief and allow it to influence by pedagogy, which has pushed me the practice what Richard summarizes as unlearning and relearning. This process is hard work and there is not a finish line to rush toward. Instead, it is a challenging continuous cycle of learning, creating, experimenting, and reflecting.
However, I have also figured out that I cannot be the only one to do this at my school. In order to change the culture of learning at San Pasqual Academy, I need to work with my colleagues to help them understand why and how to unlearn and relearn. For example, my site is ready to transition from one-to-one Chromebooks located in each teacher’s classroom cart to one-to-one Chromebooks permanently assigned to each student with school-supported wifi access at school and in the residential parts of campus. However, many of my colleagues keep their current Chromebook cart locked during most class periods, give assignments such as copying vocabulary definitions onto a worksheet, and express concern about how they will manage their classes when the students have access to opening their Chromebooks instead of listening to a lecture completing a multiple-choice quiz. This frustrates me, but they are not bad teachers. Instead, they are part of what Richardson (2012) explains as the “vast majority of [teachers] whom care deeply for our kids and are great at fulfilling a traditional role.” Instead, my frustration deserves to be directed at what he (Richardson 2012) explains as “the system those teachers are mired in, one vastly out of sync with the realities our children are facing.” Even though I have tried pushing my colleagues to “just get it,” I am not making progress. More than anything else, it seems that they foresee the power of the Chromebooks. Even though they have not yet read about it, they worry about Richardson’s sixth unlearning/relearning idea; they are afraid to “transfer the power.” It will take a lot of time and unlearning/relearning to help them overcome this fear. I am currently in the process of figuring out how to help them better understand how technology is changing schools and the world, so we can work together to help our school embrace technology and allow it to influence us to make our school different.
Works Cited Richardson, W. (2012). Why school how education must change when learning and information are everywhere / Will Richardson. New York, NY: TED Conferences.
SPA Freshmen fearlessly using Chromebooks to create a video presentation Photo Credit: Natalie Priester