Yesterday was quite frustrating. We were presented with some amazing examples of innovation in classrooms that had been empowered by professional development, adequate access to technology, and, most importantly, courageous and innovative teachers. We also saw evidence of our desperate need to retool education, as illustrated by Tim Magner in slide after slide of statistics about future employment, future technologies, and emerging competition for our position of leadership.
Bringing the possibilities (of which we saw only a hint among the demonstrations) together with the real needs of dramatically changing future, calls for a new vision for teaching, learning, and classrooms — perhaps even a need to redefine it all. But that vision must reflect something that rests behind a wall that is so wide, tall, and thick, that we can’t see it. Yet, it is the other side of that wall that we are preparing our children for.
There are two things that we do know that connect directly to our current vision of school.
- The nature of information has changed (digital, networked, overwhelming, unconstrained)
- We can not clearly describe the future we are preparing our children for.
From these ideas, two demands rise.
- That we redefine literacy (one literacy) to reflect an increasingly digital, networked… information environment.
- That we teach our children to be life long learners.
What I find interesting right now (and this is what’s great about being pushed by frustrating experiences), is that literacy and life long learning, might actually be combined to something that we might call learning literacy.
The ability to expose/find truth, employ information, express ideas compellingly to real audiences, and to understand and practice the ethical use of information, are all skills necessary to learning in a dynamic information environment. If, in our conversations about teaching and learning, we replace literacy with explicit discussions of learning literacy, then we might have a foothold for starting to scale that wall, and perhaps even visioning classrooms that can tunnel it.