Stop with the Widgets

On Friday, I will deliver a keynote address to my good friends in Illinois, at the IL Technology Conference for Educators (il-tce). I have attended and worked at this conference before, and I have made a lot of very good friends in Illinois.

The address will be called “Telling the New Story”. I’ll be telling some stories (loosely defined), telling what our stories should be about, and giving some hints on how to tell new stories designed to redefine our classrooms. But I’ll also be re-telling some stories.

For instance, I will likely describe how Hong Kong is encouraging project-based teaching strategies in its classrooms, that have long been places of regimentation. ..and how Singapore is attracting scientists to their country from all over the world, and inviting them into their high test score schools, because they desperately want to inject a culture of innovation and creativity into their classrooms.

All of this, while we seek to further standardize our curriculum, teaching practices, and technology programs. Think about it. Think about our children moving down a classroom assembly line, where we install reading on them, we install math, and install science on them. ..and at the end of the line quality control engineers, with their precision instruments, measure each widget to make sure that they all fall within the clearances of the blueprint specification — making sure that each child knows the same things, thinks the same way, and can solve the same problems.

This, of course, made perfect sense in an industrial economy where we needed a workforce who could work in straight rows, performing repetitive tasks, under close supervision.

But in a creative age, it’s not what you know that the same as everyone else that brings value to your endeavors.

It’s what you know that’s different,
..how you think that’s different,
..the solutions you can invent for new problems, and
..answers you can assemble for new questions,

that bring value to your endeavors.

Let’s stop with the widgets, and start talking about preparing our children for a dynamic future, where almost anything is possible.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.