Where are the Best Practices

 30 45365722 C4E1Dc782D MEarly this morning teacher Blogger, Brian Cosby, echoed an increasingly asked question, “Where are the best practices?” The sixth grade teacher points back to a number of references, most notably something written by Will Richardson about a conversation he’d had with Australian educator and expat Tom Marsh during a NECC webcast. You can see that conversation at NECC Live. Look for Web 2.0 in Education.

From his perspective, as a classroom teacher, Cosby suggest several reasons why we are not seeing more innovative applications of technology coming out of our classrooms. I urge you to read his Learning is Messy blog posting, Where are the “Best Practices” Examples!???! for the complete list. But if I could paraphrase, he says:

  1. Schools & districts block the publishing of exemplary student work.
  2. Sharing student work is time-consuming.
  3. Educators value the journey not the finished work.
  4. Sharing student work is technically difficult.
  5. Time structures make the production of significant student work difficult to impossible.
  6. Most teachers making innovative use of new technologies are starting from scratch with their students.
  7. Many technology-innovative educators are more interested in the technology than the curriculum.
  8. Some do not realize that what they are doing is “Best Practice” They don’t see the “WOW”.

If I misrepresented any of the above items, I apologize. Again, please read Cosby’s original post.

I’d combine it all down to say that we simply do not value the “WOW” any more. I’m taken back to the various times that I have had the opportunity to work with educators in other countries, notably the UK and Canada, and how I so often heard words like inspire, innovate, motivate, within the conversations I had, and how those words sounded almost foreign to me. It didn’t use to be that way. But we have become so focused on robust standards, measurable results, and definite and comfortable definitions of students, teachers, and classrooms, that we have lost sight of what it is that we are doing — holding the hands of our children and guiding them into a brilliantly exciting future where almost anything is possible.

We continue, stubbornly, to want to count the seeds in an apple, rather than counting the apples in a seed.*

Rosevita, “Apple_IMG_3935.” Rosevita’s Photostream. 21 Sep 2005. 11 Aug 2006 <http://flickr.com/photos/rosevita/45365722/>.

*Reference to a quote by Robert Schuller, “Anyone can count the number of seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.”

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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.