I am catching up on my blog reading after taking all of about three days off. If anyone ever questions the pace at which our knowledge base is increasing, take a few days off of reading the outputs of thoughtful educators; we are always behind no matter what we do to keep up!
Bennett, Kern, Gudenrath, and McIntosh paint a marvelously simple picture of what a flipped classroom looks like. There is nothing to fear here, even for teachers who love the comfort of traditional teacher-led instruction. Their relatively short list of how to create an effective flipped program could be the Cliff’s Notes version of 21C education; take a look and see how easy it will be to shift into a vastly more effective learning mode.
Saul Kaplan, in his book The Business Model Innovation Factory talks about disruptive innovation and how companies can be better attuned to it. “Companies fail at avoiding disruption because they are so busy pedaling the bicycle of their current business model. They leave no time or resources for design.” This is so critical for schools to understand. Past success in a time of changing market demand, economic reality, and evolving technology is not an indicator of future success, or even of future viability. You can see the Dan Pink interview of Kaplan here.
Peter Gow writes about the difference between ideas and good ideas, which is so critical at a time when we know more about the need to innovate than how to actually do it. Schools are feeling the pressure of this rapidly changing world, and good educators know we have to adopt or risk decline. There is a tendency to brainstorm a mess of ideas and let loose the dogs of entrepreneurialism. This process has real risks, not the least of which are that we stampede to make a change that is poorly aligned with the mission, under-resourced, or lacking in value creation. Peter’s warnings are good ones, particularly as they are offered by someone who is pushing the envelope of innovation himself.
Finally, my good friends Bo Adams and Jill Gough just finished giving another in their line of highly successful workshops on project based learning and PLC’s. Why are they so successful? Because they wrote the book on so much of this. They did not invent the concept, just like architects do not invent the rules that allow buildings to safely stand. But architects take simple rules and pound them into something that works, that adds VALUE, to an existing system. That is what Bo and Jill have done at Westminster Schools. By pioneering PLC’s from the ground up they have changed the culture of professional development and the ability of that faculty to innovate. And by building their Synergy 8 class around the concepts of questioning, collaboration, and student-led learning, they paint a picture for all of us of what NthC (21C) learning can and should look like. This is exactly what I wrote about yesterday: if schools want to preserve or expand the margin that keeps the wolf from the door, create something unique of value, like Jill and Bo have done for their school.