Change is always difficult. I find schools are particularly difficult places to get change to take place. Ben Wilkoff describes issues around change in schools eloquently in his K12 Online Conference Session "Starting From Scratch."
It's easy to complain about schools and their shortcomings. I've yet to find a school that is perfect in each and every way. I'm fortunate to work in a school that is very successful in many ways in a community that supports education 110%. We still work hard each year examing pedagogy and student work to get better and better.
Many educational technology bloggers write about their frustrations with schools and their reluctance to change. I had a professor in my undergraduate studies that referred to his education students as "curriculum winners" - we learned best the way that teachers taught. I feel he is correct. Schools tend to be self feeding institutions that perpetuate the status quo. I feel that this presentation demonstrated ways to avoid the status quo and how to deal with the various stakeholders to make change for the improvement of student learning.
I found Ben Wilkoff's process to be very similar to the backwards planning process. He promotes striving towards what we want to see in education. This doesn't necessarily mean scrapping everything that is currently done but merely examining the type of learning and pedagogy we wish to see.
...the ways in which we act and talk about school directly impacts the schools we have... Ben Wilkoff
This statement has been ringing in my head since I heard it early in the presentation. I have worked in several schools throughout my career. Many of these schools were not high performing schools. It is interesting how the perception of a school and the aspirations of its staff, students, and community affect the quality of instruction and expectations. Changing aspirations is a very important part of the change process.
Technology is not a passing fad (as referenced in the ending video segment). Teachers need to continue to use technology to create authentic work for their students. Web 2.0 tools can help with this. Ben Wilkoff included a link to his 101 Resources document. If you have not seen this document download it and peruse. We have used it in our technology professional development sessions. Teachers have found the resources within the document to be really useful in the classroom.
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