Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thinking Too Small

Lots of good thinking that I want to share. First, from George Siemens:

The act of learning (how our brain stores, recognizes, and retrieves knowledge) is fairly stable. Our external environment is not. As a result, over the last 30 years, many situations have developed in society that challenge established approaches to learning. Static is replaced with dynamic. Content is replaced (or at least augmented) with connections to ensure that people stay current. My whole intent with connectivism is to present the need to design a new approach and view of learning - one that is not hamstrung by classrooms, but is a thread that runs through the entire fabric of life. Learning as natural as breathing, as constant as a beating heart.
and later . . .

As learning designers, it's about designing for life. Learning is all around - TV, newspapers, internet, conversations, etc. We can't get away from learning. Yet we toil away in front of our computers, designing for this narrow space called "learning". I think the learning specialist of tomorrow (as early as five years) will hold many positions not traditional to our field. The concepts of learning and technology will penetrate (actually, they have already, people are slow to acknowledge it) into every area of our corporation, organizations, and schools. Those who understand the new space of constant learning will play a key role in helping organizations and people achieve their potential (and the idealist in me says, “to make a better world”). We simply think too small. We think we are trimming the hedges, when we have the potential to alter the entire landscape – to alter the very make up of the soil in which the hedges grow.

And then Will Richardson continues the conversation:

It comes down to this, for me at least. Things are different. This is a changed space. Our learning environments need to change to take advantage of the people and information and ideas that we can now connect to. We cannot continue to be enablers to our students' dependence on a school selected, force fed curriculum that was in some ways necessary 50 years ago but is quickly becoming irrelevant today. Our students need to learn how to learn, because there is so much more to learn from, and they need to be given the license to start making some of those decisions on their own.

I'm feeling the same thing. I think we are "thinking too small" as George Siemens said. I'm worried that as a group we don't feel like we can make the major changes that some of us think need to be made (and the rest of you will come to agree with me, of course - resistance is futile!). While I'm not saying that everything we are doing (and have done) is bad, I think there needs to be a major change in the way we approach teaching and learning at AHS. I don't think it has to happen overnight, but I think if all we do is tinker, we will fall short. And I'm concerned that if you guys feel that we don't have the capability of making those changes, we are dead in the water before we even start. I'm not sure how to convince you that I truly believe we can make these changes.


  1. I think in part in comes with support form the higher powers. We have seen where support begins and then is taken away over time. How can we convince them( the higher powers) that these are changes that need to be made not for the short time but for the future so that we don;t fall behind. I think we are getting there but there are many who have been burned before and are apprehensive. We are getting there Karl. I promise!

  2. I too, see the "wheels a turnin'", but we're a little slower than you, Karl!

    Prime example of you coming up with ideas for my position paper, college relationships, etc. and I haven't had a moment (or taken extra moments) to a)apply for grants, or b) check in with you to see where to go next.

    I'm so visual that just hearing plans doesn't help me set my plans in motion. I am all about check lists and I guess I just don't know what to put down. I am doing blogs,, and bloglines, but where do I go next?