It was, and is, supposed to be all about values: teamwork, collaboration, self-sacrifice, hard work, creativity, humility in victory and grace in defeat. The health and "whole child" aspects are here, too: the venerable but hardly obsolete ideal of mens sana in corpore sano
I urge readers to build into their own PLNs any of these bloggers whose words resonate on a personal or professional level to reach out via comments or email--it's a great way to find new perspectives an all aspects of our practice. As an added bonus, experience a satisfying ripple effect by checking out these bloggers' blogrolls.
Couple great large-scale projects with the evolving efficacy of elective online coursework and strong communities built around collaborative learning, effective advising, explicit exploration of values and social issues, and ever-popular athletic or performing arts programs, and it seems to me that schools of the future could easily encompass all the compelling ideas of the present.
The biggest lesson for schools is that this train has pretty much left the station. By some means, on some scale, every school will soon need to figure out how it will help its students avail themselves of online learning where it offers a clear advantage over completely school-based courses.
Technology turned the tables on us. We are prisoners of our children's generation far more than they are prisoners of ours. Even if we sometimes smirk when we see kids struggle with technology, our students really are digital natives in ways that we can never be, even we who have been eager early adopters of anything subject to Moore's Law.
The points she makes and questions she asks in the poem are not rhetorical or abstract; she is writing, as we tell all student poets to do, about her life.
I'm not ready to suggest that we ought to replace high school with a succession of MOOCs, but I can see a place for them, thanks to my smart kid friends. By and large these are kids for whom school curricula are a baseline, hoops to be jumped through and milestones to be checked off on a transcript. Even so-called "college level" programs like AP and IB are more about putting sweat equity into transcripts than feeding their hungry intellects; more work doesn't always mean more thinking.
Anyone who has interacted with students from one of these programs knows the effect they can have. For one, they promote intense bonding that lead to lifetime friendships with fellow students and staff and amazing loyalty to the programs themselves. In my experience, too, students returning from semester programs are often refocused and energized academically, socially, and politically.
It seems just a bit too weird for me to post right now, and so I think I'll let this endless, terrible week end here.
The farmers of Lexington and Concord were standing for their children's future with the crude tools of war, and in time they won our freedom. Now, with weapons of peace, learning, and justice, let's stand for our children's future.