Sir Ken Robinson was in Red Deer last night, and I am glad that I took the time to catch his lecture. It was a fantastic opportunity to hear him in person and go beyond the “20 minute clips” that I usually hear on the Internet. Although those short messages are very powerful, the expansion of his ideas was extremely powerful.
Sir Ken talked about the importance of personalized education, the power of creativity, and the impact of passion in the classroom. As he spoke of these ideas, I thought a lot about our new 1-1 computer initiative that we have in our grade 5 and 6 classrooms. As we rolled out the computers, and let the students know that these were their computers, I watched with excitement as they personalized their browsers, screens, and made the computers their own. I know this having this access to technology and ownership of a device is only one facet of what we can do in the classroom, but it is something that is becoming a part of our lives.
cc licensed flickr photo shared by gcouros
One of the questions that was asked of Sir Ken last night was essentially the antithesis of what I believe. The participant basically asked that with all of this technology and how students are so “wired”, how could we have kids be passionate about education. I was perplexed by this question until Sir Ken referred to Mark Prensky and his terms, “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”. It was discussed how immigrants in history have held onto the “old” ways while the younger generation (the “digital natives”) have embraced and define the new culture. Whether you agree with the term “digital natives” or “digital immigrants”, it is evident how our younger generation is embracing and using this technology to connect.
So as we see this opportunity for our students to connect and personalize social media, it is also apparent that this is not the answer for all students. It may be part of the answer for some, but the personalized, creative, and passionate ideas in schools need more.
One of the tweets that came from last night’s lecture, I found very interesting yet abundantly true:
Essentially, what does this look like in a school?
Yes, I believe that we need to find ways to unleash the talent in our students and give them ownership in the classroom, but my big question is, what does this look like in a classroom setting? We all talk about our classrooms encouraging creativity, building upon student passion, and being personalized, but not enough people are talking about what that looks like.
If you were to envision a “classroom” in school that embraced these ideas, what would it look like?