How to make Future Classrooms a reality…

I recently watched number of “the future is wonderful” videos. One by Corning Glass, another by Microsoft’s Partners in Learning and this one my Smart Tech.

I love the clean lines, the cool tech and the innovative uses of tech. But that is NOT what gets me the most. The biggest thing is the “what the do”. Much of the things we would like to do, can be done now! It is often less of a technology question and more of a tradition, a curriculum, a status quo, an avidance of radical. We have been talking about project based learning, student centered, portfolios, community, 21 Century, Free schools, since my dad was teaching in the early 70’s. Yet we still have bells, report cards, standardized tests, grades, and columns of courses with a strict curriculum.

Technology can help makes some of these changes easier and manageable, but hot spots have been doing these long before our ICT age. My Dad’s wisdom lives in the Garth Brooks song, Standing outside the Fire”

We call them cool

Those hearts that have no scars to show

The ones that never do let go

And risk the tables being turned

We call them fools

Who have to dance within the flame

Who chance the sorrow and the shame

That always comes with getting burned

I am not suggesting being reckless. But I am suggesting a few things.

#1. Seriously question why we do some of the things we do? There used to be a very good reason why we do many things. Are those still good reasons today? Maybe yes , maybe no.

#2. If I cannot say “yes” to the above, am I willing to be a bit of a fool? I ask my students to take risks all the time and celebrate responsible fails. Am I willing to take a chance and be left with a scar? What is the worst thing that can happen if this goes sideways…really? Am I willing to let go of old because it is comfortable and known? or did someone a long time ago figure this out and I should learn their wisdom?

#3. Try it. I wait until I failed TWICE before I seriously evaluate it. If I get it perfect the first time, it might not have been a big enough change. When I have failed twice, then I willl consider if this has a good foundation that needs some band-aids, duct tape and TLC, or if it is flawed and needs to be bulldozed to the ground.

There are lots of superficial scars failing, duct taping and bulldozing. But there is a whole new world to create out there.