Friday, August 22, 2008

Let's Get Disruptive

My husband likes to read a lot. He brought me an article from one of his Forbes magazines entitled “How to Change the Way Kids Learn.” The fact that he thought of me when he read that title is flattering, in my opinion, so I delved into it.

Computers have failed to improve education. That’s because no one’s gotten disruptive with technology.

This intrigued me further. Getting disruptive with technology? I’m not sure what that means but it sounds cool! I read on.

The authors state that U.S. public schools struggle to improve because they aren’t motivating the children. Ok, I see children in my classroom everyday that force me to inevitably come back to one question: why aren’t they motivated? Just today I had a student tell me in not so many words that he wanted to do the minimum, just what he can get by with. Do educators condition students in a way that encourages this notion of “just getting by?” Where did the natural curiosity and thirst for learning go? Didn’t they have it when they were 2 or 3 or 4?

If the goal is to educate all students so they have an all-American shot at realizing their dreams, we must find a way to disrupt the monolithic classroom and move toward a student-centric model.

I will admit that I proceeded to look up monolithic to make sure I understood the message. Monolithic means cut out of one stone, characterized by total uniformity and rigidity. This is a business magazine with an article that indicates the typical American classroom is monolithic, rigid and totally standardized. As an educator, I took that to heart. For all of the information on differentiation, learning styles, brain-based strategies, etc., the business world still sees our classrooms as inflexible and ineffective.

The way to implement an innovation so it will transform an organization is to implement it disruptively.

One of my goals this year is to revise the curriculum for 6th grade Language Arts so that a student-centered approach emanates from the curriculum map and other files that communicate standards. That means getting disruptive with some of the curriculum pieces. That means moving further toward an open-content type curriculum as opposed to a text-driven curriculum. Blogs, wikis, skype, wiziQ, moodle, etc., all have the potential of transformation if we get "disruptive" with them. My students will be putting together curriculum resources through our class wiki. I want the students to create resources for curriculum. How will students develop creativity without being given opportunities to create?

For now, I am still pondering, "What does 'getting disruptive' really look like?"

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Blogger Ann said...

Wow! What an article! Please say thank you to your husband.

I appreciate you for challenging me to move toward a creatively disruptive and student-centric classroom. I look forward to hearing answers to your pondering question.


July 15, 2009 at 2:51 PM  

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