« The Possibility | Main | The need for 21st century curricula here in Iowa (and elsewhere) »

Questions

| 1 Comment

It seems to me that if we're going to make systemic changes in how we deliver learning opportunities for our children, we're going to need to do a better job of creating the public's sense of urgency and the public will to provide support and political cover for our leaders who toil every day in their buildings and districts. Disruptive innovations of the sort made possible by technology are exciting and are providing evidence that there are ways to provide quality education that we heretofore have not even thought of, but how will they gain currency?

The PDK poll results (my school's great; everyone else's schools are C-) phenomenon still works against true innovation. How can we mobilize support for a new way of doing things that can protect visionary leaders from risking losing their jobs as they present the brutal facts to their patrons?

It seems we have parallels in what is happening at the national level with the new administration's efforts to rescue us all from this economic crisis. What can we learn from their efforts? Do we have a "bi-partisan" commitment to helping parents and other taxpayers understand that the 21st century survival skills detailed by Tony Wagner are not a retreat from the "hard academic skills", not soft skills that will water down our educational offerings, not another move from educational leaders to sidestep accountability? How do we frame this so people can understand that traditional educational structures must change if their children are to be successful in this very new world?

Troyce Fisher

1 Comment

Troyce:

You mention disruptive innovation, and as I am currently reading Christensen's book on the subject, I have been giving this some thought. He points out that in industry the development of disruptive innovations typically takes place OUTSIDE the established marketplace--expanding into some previously unserved market with lower expectations. There an immediate need can be served (althought not generally the same need as the existing customers) and the product gradually improved (lowered price, greater efficiency or reliability, etc) until it begins to challenge the existing market. He is quite clear that schools don't operate in this way--but also points out that there are, in fact, unserved markets in education. These include AP courses or electives in buildings or districts too small to offer them in the accepted way. It may also include rural districts where NCLB highly qualified requirements has challenged the practice of the biology teacher teaching chemistry.

From grade nine on upward there are in any urban district substantial numbers of students who are "non-consumers" of education. Some charter schools have attempted to develop programs to serve these various un/underserved populations--for whom the competing alternative is nothing at all. I am beginning to think that this may be one of the most appropriate roles for charters. It occurs to me that the few that I have seen that have succeeded have done so by offering something appropriate to a small niche of students whose needs are not, or poorly, met within the public schools. Some of these are quirky learners--highly individual, internally motivated, bored out of their minds by high school and insufficiently engaged by the "perks" of high school (football games, prom, etc) to want to stay. Others are the numbers of kids who have been push-outs since the beginning--who have always had better relationships with the counseling and disciplinary staff than their classroom teachers, who begin by walking away from classes and end by walking away from school altogether.

In many states, school districts have the ability to dabble in charters themselves (thus enabling some things like access to buildings and union cooperation). From a district perspective, I would suggest maximizing this opportunity to develop "disruptions" among unserved/underserved populations. There is a need to ensure that these opportunities be given the freedom that they need to develop (my own district has tended to view them as "keeping kids in the district" rather than developing anything new--with the result being that technology or innovations are "crammed" onto the existing school structures, rather than exporing innovative uses).

From a state or policy perspective, I would suggest that charters be viewed as an appropriate greenhouse for developing such innovations. This would mean that in order to open their doors, they would have to provide clarity about the population that they intend to serve, why they are currently not served well, and how they hope to make a change. Then fund them fully and provide researchers to follow the results. Instead of just switching out the players and expecting a cheaper product, treat charters as the experiment that they may serve best as.

I suspect that some of this is already happening--particularly in the development of online courses for drop-out recovery and prevention. I would say that they are currently pretty clunky, computerized versions of GED workbooks. But, there is a "market" even for that--and the possibility of developing more engaging models that make use of the full capabilities of the technology. Then administrators who resist using them in the regular classroom will be the ones needing political cover.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Margo/Mom: Troyce: You mention disruptive innovation, and as I am currently read more

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Tags

#ccko9
#eci831
#ic3s21
#passiondriven
1:1
1:1 laptops
21st century
21st Century
21st Century Schools
21st Century Skills
21st Century skills
Abraham Lincoln
Accountability
accountabilty
adifference
administrator
Adolescent Literacy Panel
advice
aldonza
aleccouros
Alfie Kohn
Angela Maiers
aptitude
Arthur Benjamin
Artists
Arts
ASCD
Assessment
astronaut
Author
avatar
basketball
Beyond Discipline
Blog
blogging
blogs
boss
calculus
Capacity
Career and College Readiness
Carnegie Foundation
CEDS
Cell Phones
Challenge
Change
change
Charleston Children's Museum
Chris Anderson
CIES
class blogs
Clay Shirky
College
Colonel Eileen Collins
commenting
commitment
communication
community
Community
comparative
compassion
compensation
Comprehension
Comprhension
computers in the classroom
Constructivism
cookie
Copyright_infringement
Copyright_laws
Council of Conscience
creativity
Creativity
Creativity Conversation
Creativity Index
Cultivate
Dan Pink
death valley
Decision making
dennisar
Derailed
Disruptive Innovation
Divergent
dkuropatwa
Don Quixote
Dr. Jeff
Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Drive
dulcinea
education
Education
Education in the United States
educational change
Educational Leadership
educational leadership
educational technology leadership
Educators
effectiveness
Element
empathy
Enactivism
energy savings
Engage
Engineering
engineering
evaluation
evernote
evsc
Facebook
failure
Feedback
Festival
Film festival
firing
formative and summative assessments
Frank Smith
friendship
Future
Garr Reynolds
georgesiemens
Global
Golden Rule
Grades
green technology
heart
heart of a teacher
High school
high school
Higher Education
Higher Order Thinking Skills
hire
history
HOME
Home School Partnership
Homework
hospitals
humility
I Notice
Ian Jukes
Ideas
Identity crisis
imagination
Improvement
improvement
Indexing
influence
innovation
Innovation
innovation3
innovation3 llc
inspiration
instructional leadership
Interests
international
International Society for Technology in Education
interview
ipad
ISTE
Jayson Richardson
job
Job Readiness
John Seely Brown
K through 12
K-8
Karen Armstrong
karl fisch
kellychristopherson
Kent
leaderhhip coaching
leadershiop
Leadership
leadership
leadership development
leadership management influence
Leadership Resources
lean
learning
Learning
Learning 21st Century
legislation
Lifelong learning
Literacy
Literacy and Learning
Love
Man of La Mancha
management
math
math education
mathematics
Mathematics
mboe
Media literacy
medicine
mentoring
merit pay
mguhlin
Michael Watkins
Minds on Fire
moodle
Motivation
Movies
Multiple choice
NAESP
NASA
national educational technology plan
National Governors Association
NCESSE
Neil Rochelle
netbooks
NETS-A
Norma Rae
Nurture
Obama
one to one
online
online learning
Online Software
Originality
osu
Paradoxical Commandments
Parent Invovlement
Parent Partnership
passion
Passion Driven Classroom
Passion Education
Passion Leadership
performance
pete reilly
peter o'toole
Peter Senge
plagiarism
pln
PLN
plurk
Positive feedback
power
preconceptions
President Kennedy
principal
Principal
principal preparation
priorities
probability
Problem Solving
productivity
Professional development
publishing
read/write web
Reading
Reading Next
Reflection
reform
religion
reorganization
research
saving IT dollars
Schedules
school leadership
School Reform
schooling
Science
science
Scott McCloud
Scott McLeod
Second Life
self management
Seth Godin
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai
SIF
sir ken robinson
Sir Ken Robinson
SLC
Social Media
Social Networking
sophia loren
Standardized test
statistics
STEM
stephaniepacemarshall
stephendownes
strategy leadership
student achievement
student led conferences
suffering
summer
Switzerland
systemic change
teacher
Teacher
Teacher Professional Development
teachers
Teachers College Columbia University
teaching
Technology
technology
technology change
Technology integration
technology research
TED
TED Prize
textbooks
The First 90 Days
thin client
Thinking
Thomas Dewey
Tim Irwin
time management
Time To Act
transformation
transformative change
transitions
Tribes-We Need You To Lead Us
twitter
Twitter
Uniqueness
United States
University
University of Alabama-Birmingham
University of Kentucky
vacation
Value
Vision
vision
Wagner
walkthroughs
Web 2.0
Web Filtering
Webinar
weighting
Whole New Mind
wisdom
Wordle
workforce
World Read Aloud Day
Young People