Have we been asking the right questions? What if we have been approaching the transformation of learning from “north” on the compass rose when we should have been approaching from “west” or “east”? I am going to mix the heck out of some metaphors here, but stick with me for a moment.
- Computing metaphor: the system of education has loads of “hardware”, some outdated and some new, but most within a similar school of architecture. We have loads of “software” that is being updated all the time, and in the past decade the rate of increase of software solutions into the system has gone crazy. But what about the operating system? It has not had a substantial redesign since the middle of the 19th century. What if we stopped designing hardware and software for an operating system that is 150 years old until we redesigned the education OS?
- Ecosystem metaphor: If we imagine learning evolving from an assembly line model to an ecosystem model as I argue in #EdJourney, and we think of that ecosystem as a pond, we keep adding lots of organisms to that pond: flipped classrooms, PBL, online learning, global studies, SEL, Common Core, new technologies…the list is pretty much endless. But what attention are we paying to the water in the pond, the medium in which all this must live and thrive?
- Holiday Tree metaphor (from The Falconer): Are we paying all of our attention to the ornaments when what is really important is the tree?
- Archery metaphor (also from The Falconer): We keep adding arrows to the quiver and building better bows. Isn’t our real concern training the archer?
Take your pick and use the one that resonates with you. Others that come to mind? I think this is really important: We don’t need more stuff in education; we need to re-imagine the glue that holds the stuff together.