Saturday, February 14, 2009

Making it all happen...

We talk about change; we confirm the need for change in our politics, our church, our schools. But what do we each, each, do to initiate that change, to work on solutions, to foster a better culture? What do we do?
George Siemens writes about the need for change in his work Knowing Knowledge. He states:
  • "We are in the early stages of dramatic change—change that will shake the spaces and structures of our society. Knowledge, the building block of tomorrow, is riding a tumultuous sea of change."
  • "Left in the wake of cataclysmic change are the knowledge creation and holding structures of the past. The ideologies and philosophies of reality and knowing—battle spaces of thought and theory for the last several millennia—have fallen as guides. Libraries, schools, businesses—engines of productivity and society—are stretching under the heavy burden of change."
Where can we start? So many bloggers have been questioning and philosophizing.
Jeff Utecht's The Thinking Stick blog entry "The Beginning of the End"
  • "I feel the momentum of change coming."
  • "I don’t know about you…but I see the pieces slowly moving together. It’s like looking at a map for the first time after learning about the Continental Drift Theory…and for the first time you step back and you look…..and you see it….you see how all of the pieces could fit together…and you have a moment…a moment where you go WHOA!"

Scott McLeod's Dangerously Irrelevant entry "It's not a revolution unless someone gets hurt"

  • "I think it is becoming increasingly clear that our current system of education is going to go away. There are simply too many societal pressures and alternative paradigms for it to continue to exist in its current form.
    The only question, then, is: How long are we going to thrash around before we die?"

Carl Anderson's Techno Constructivist entry "Hybrid Project-Based Charter Idea Explained"

  • "I have been exploring the possibility of starting a new charter school in Minnesota that is partially virtual but will exist as digitally connected classrooms within the walls of our existing public schools."

But where do we go from there. We can't sit around and wait for something. We need to be advocates; we need to foster an environment to make that SHIFT happen. Individuals can't do it alone... it takes a communities effort. Carl Anderson sees that, and he is drawing upon his local community's involvement. (There is a video in his entry worth viewing.) I hope he continues to realize that support is available in this vast space I'm using now.

George Siemens believes that to "'Know where' and 'know who' are more important today than knowing what and how. An information rich world requires the ability to first determine what is important, and then how to stay connected and informed as information changes." What valuable insight. This insight is no different than that of Bill Strickland's as he progressively made one connection after another to foster his dream of providing an educational outlet for the poor of his Pittsburgh community. The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild was his dream, and through his ability to make personal connections with people his dream was made a success. He knows, as spoken by Siemens, that " knowledge is not intended to fill minds. It is intended to open them." And that is just what Strickland has done for the poor neglected by our traditional systems of education. "You've got to look like the solution; not the problem," Strickland argues in the following video.

Strickland is right "There is nothing wrong with the kids." It's the system.

"We need to step outside of the destination view of learning and embrace the journey view" (Siemens), just as Strickland has done, before we are able to help foster that successful Shift in our educational institutions. We need to think big and act big and then, maybe then, we'll see what this change in education looks like.

"We advance humanity’s potential through knowledge. We advance humanity through emotion." -George Siemens

“You must be prepared to act on your dreams just in case they do come true.” -Bill Strickland

Do we have to be a George Siemens or a Bill Strickland to make things happen? No, but we do need to work together, support one another, and foster change when we know that it is the right road to take.

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