Leave A Trail
I had the great fortune to hear Will Richardson speak this week. (You can see notes – mine and his – here.) As a parent and educator, he shared with us this desire for his children:
I want my kids to be able to create, navigate, and grow their own personal learning networks in safe, effective, and ethical ways.
In the room with me were 50 or so other members of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS), some (most?) of whom were probably already familiar with and/or open to Will’s ideas. The audience was highly engaged, and one of the themes that threaded through our questions for Will was “How can we get everyone else on board?”
I’ve been thinking about that question ever since. (Will says that the question of “how do we move forward” is a common one within his communities…. “everyone is looking for the lever.”)
Will’s friend Clarence Fisher is a classroom teacher who “gets it.” A recent post on his blog highlighted the power of global connections, and over the weekend, in a post entitled Where Are We Headed, he asked “How are we building the classrooms and learning these kids [current kindergartners] need?”
The list of K12 schools that “get it” with regards to 21st century skills gets longer every day. Scott McLeod (“Dangerously Irrelevant”) is helpfully collecting names of schools that are successfully integrating innovative practices on his movingforward wiki, here; add your school if you think it qualifies! Public School Insights is also sharing a wide variety of success stories here.
But I get the sense that the vast majority of educators who “get it” are still lonely in their buildings, and maybe struggling with impatience. (Did you read Steve Dembo’s post, “Is Joining a PLN bad for morale?“)
Social media rock star Chris Brogan recently offered some advice about how to get from point A to point B within a business context in his “Get on the Right Side of the Fence” post, and that’s the point at which my thinking started to crystallize.
We need complete stories, not just happy endings. We need case studies. We not only need to see that evolved schools exist, we need to know how they got there.
So keep learning out loud, everyone! Do not turn back.
And leave a trail, please.