Day 172 (of 184) loss of common experiences?

Day 172 (of 184) loss of common experiences?

Today’s tech conference starts out with a keynote from @jessehirch which brought out a key idea that I’ve kept coming back to today:

Are schools last bastion of ‘shared reality’ (common experience) & this is why many are reluctant to disrupt/change the institute?

I’ve heard from other parents (and experience similar with my own children) how ‘the world is changing so much’ from when we were kids. From scheduled play dates to tech immersion (portable connectivity rather than ‘the’ computer/game system/tv in ‘a’ room there has been significant change in our society.

And change can be scary.

And the more things change, the more some want to hold on to memories of the ‘good old day’ (which all too often weren’t). It might be only me who remembers rows of students ‘checking out’ and ‘just wanting to finish’ tasks like math mad minutes, spelling lists, chapter tests, daily diary entries etc not to mention the throngs that dreaded to see “what their teachers gave them” on the (not their) report card…

I believe parents hated ‘new math’ once upon a time and math continues to evolve as differentiation and focus-on-learning-not-tasks take hold. There is still a mistrust of not having enough worksheets for drill-and-kill ‘practice’ by some. Not only are math strategies changing (more than just ‘a’ way to reach an answer) but the whole concept of thinking about math thinking is taking hold – and that is very different from the ‘right or wrong only’ belief that was held around math.

I know parents were nervous when we started using an @freshgrade app to create student eportfolios to ‘communicate student learning’ as opposed to report cards that ‘report student achievement’. But because so many (all?) who were in school decade(s) ago only know letter grades and percentages – and are reluctant to really talk about the validity/reliability of this strategy – making a change away from this 100 + year old methodology is….scary. Or more than scary – “it was good enough for me, it’ll be good enough for my kid” – ingrained.

Education is at a very exciting moment in time. Dynamic changes are occurring (geniushour SOLEs, eportfolios are but the tip of the Ed reform iceberg) and schools of tomorrow (and many today) don’t look or work the same as they did even 10 years ago. As the shift of assessment continues to emphasize learning and deemphasize task completion to have enough ‘marks’ to calculate a percentage.

Social media such as twitter and blogging are connecting like-minded educators in ways unseen before. Whereas my father was stretching to use a phone modem (remember the movie Wargames?) once upon a time, I am getting ideas and support from educators around the world. …and more importantly communicating and sharing with our entire learning community.

I am becoming more mindful of the fears that others have about schools not being the same ‘common experience’ – but a conversation on the highway last night led us to discuss how grade 3 experiences are so diverse within a school let alone between districts, while by middle school/secondary there is a desire (might be the wrong word – hope it’s the wrong word) for the experience of students to be ‘the same’ via common textbooks and common assessments – despite what we know about learning styles and sharing methodologies.

And different is good. My pledge is that my learning community will look different from schools/classrooms of the past because we will constantly improve and do the work that focuses on learning and knowing rather than finishing ‘just’ finishing tasks to communicate a score or rush our learning to finish a textbook unit.

The ‘shared commonality’ of everyone having the ‘same classroom experience’ is fading as we become a more personalized learning and living experience. Thank goodness.

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About technolandy

Principal of Sorrento Elementary Educator pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Piloting ePortfolios
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