Returning

I am days away from completing a two semester program that will take me in a new career direction. That is both happy and sad. I love learning and being able to keep intellectually challenged, I will miss  that. However, I love new challenges and looking at the unknown horizion, map in hand.

A significant part of my plan is to return to my blog and be more focused in my writing. Though the map is heading me toward the legal and policy side of education, my heart remains in the classroom, with students, and hearing the voices in the marketplace of ideas among my Twitter and FB educator friends. I hope to be, even tangentially, a voice of revolutionary thought in the rethinking of American education.

@tylerbreed tweeted a link this morning to one of my favorite blogs (which due to my own course work I haven’t kept up with since last September) and I received a nice shot of invigoration from the thoughts in David Warlick’s post: The Continerless Learning Environment.

David addresses many antiquated ideas that still pervade the reality of education in America, and succinctly summarizes much of what I have written about in one paragraph:

“I’ve written about this before, that we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that you need containers to teach and learn.  It happens within the fixed walls of the classroom, between the covers of our pre-packaged textbooks, and the inflexible confines of the daily schedule.  We even measure learning, to a certain degree, by the amount of time students are contained in their seats.”

Therein lies what holds American education back. Technology in many forms, even some that don’t plug into the wall or need a battery, have  altered the paradigm and education generally has not paid attention. We are, as David points out, stuck inside a box, inside a box, inside box which does not encourage or value the idea of open and free learning environments.

David’s voice is salient and his implied challenge exciting. I would only disagree with one statement, that what he is talking about is Project Based Learning (PBL). It is something greater than that. The idea he is developing is learning within the context of learning. One can not embark on an adventure without being in the adventure itself. The adventure is limitless and boundles as it may develop in many different directions simultaniously (ala differentiated learning). This is the type of explosive classroom or collegial collaborative where innovation within the learner experience occurs.

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