Day 127 (of 184) Disruptions
The word/term “disruption” has come up to me a lot in the past 24 hours. In one case it was me using the terminology of “disruptive classrooms” to explain my support for a shift away from Report Cards and to ePortfolios (and the associated shift away from reporting student achievement and towards communicating student learning). But it also came up during couple of phone calls and chats with my staff: causing disruptions in the learning ‘system’. Wanting to disrupt the ‘status quo’.
I first fell in love with the concept via Clayton (@claychristensen) Christensen’s book “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation will change the way the world learns”. I loved it because it told many case studies on how ‘long held institutions’ got caught up in who they were, and missed out on ‘who they ought to be’ – in other words, they were either unwilling or unable to change.
Because a ‘disruptive classroom’ is not meant to be one that lacks control and has chaos (although a little bit of chaos can be a good thing!) – instead it is one that disrupts the ‘norm’ – trying to steal a little bit about how iTunes disrupted the ‘traditional’ way that consumers purchased music. Essentially using new technology to do ‘old things’ in new & different ways.
And it’s not just about ‘doing different for the sake of being different’ – it is instead taking into consideration new research, successful methodologies and using them as part of a methodology that takes everything into consideration – especially the role of the learner.
It is about disrupting the pattern of doing ‘mad minutes’ because it seemed like a good idea once upon a time and instead looking at more effective ways for students to increase numerical fluency other than ‘drill & kill’ – similarly using spelling lists and assuming that the memorization of a list of words for one week has an impact on student writing – it is time to disrupt these models of task completion and bring in learning strategies – among my focus this year have included:
#geniushour which gives students one hour a week to ‘learn/study/do’ anything of their own choice – and we have found that for many students, this is the first time that they actually get to choose an area to learn about….and for some this is a difficult thing to do!
SOLE (Self Organized Learning Environments) which allow students to figure out effective strategies for students to learn about a key topic/subject in groups that they have ownership of: learning who they work well with (and even if they work well in groups…) and trying to work in groups of different sizes.
In both instances the key ‘disruption’ has been establishing ‘student centred classrooms’ – where the learner has ownership of ‘what’ they are learning, ‘how’ they are learning/presenting it, and ‘why’ becomes intrinsic.
Hmmm….intrinsic learning as a disruption to the classroom. Feels like a good thing.