There is passion, noise, and emotion in the room here. There is learning. People are pumped with the range of possibilities they are uncovering, their heads pushed in somewhat new directions.
There is also discomfort here. Some are past the edge of their comfort zone, probably not radically so, but past it nonetheless. What will they take home with them? Relief it is over, so they can retreat to comfort? If we created a scale: 0%=no #fuse14 attendee changes anything they do when they leave; 100%=all #fuse14 attendees radically change how they teach-learn-lead…what is the outcome of a gathering like this? Like any opportunity for professional and personal growth when we go back to our own “real world” the long days of work, family, home, responsibilities, how much bandwidth do we have time for, or allocate, to new stuff?
What about those who are not here, who don’t want to see the world changing, who believe just as deeply that the past is a great indication of the future as those here believe the opposite? Will anything that people learn here change those minds? My observations are that the answer is “yes”. When we cut to the core, design thinking is about creating an environment that promotes/allows students to learn through direct engagement with their own passions, and the vast majority of adults who work in schools recognize and enjoy passionate, engaged students. They may not know how to DEAL with the relative chaos of passionate students pursuing multiple simultaneous learning directions, but they recognize the great learning that is taking place.
What scares me is the rate of change, that schools which do not embrace the sort of rapid evolutionary processes that we are seeing in action this week face a substantial risk of becoming irrelevant in the very near future. Increasing numbers of families see traditional education as generating outcomes that do not prepare their children for the future. School communities think they can’t ‘change the direction of the aircraft carrier’ quickly; they are often wrong. It may be a messy process and it may take people outside their comfort zone, but to say it can’t be done is just wrong, and if I may be forgiven, in some cases it stems from a deficit of courage to take the same risks that we are asking of our students.