Monday, August 29, 2011

Groundswellin' it uuuuuup!

I'm reading an amazing book right now that has some pretty interesting applications for education. Hit the jump for more.

Groundswell is a pretty important book because it looks at how to take a motivated base and using social media really tap into the energy of the people. The technology can change and adapt to the needs of the base, but by bringing people together you can get some amazing results. It just takes a little bit of planning. I think a lot of teachers (through anecdotal evidence) are tired of being professionally judge by issues completely out of their control. No teacher can compete with some of the social inequities we have created and our testing assessments need to change. I hear this all the time from the educators on the ground. So why do we keep using them? Why are we not innovating in real, meaningful ways? Because we leave the teacher out of the conversation. Which, to be honest, is bananas. I've already talked about how teaching isn't like traditional business because you're working with students required to be there instead of cogs, stocks, or frozen o.j.... so what do we need to do to get some real innovation in the system? How about using the groundswell of passionate, dedicated, and absurdly bright teachers to come up with reform? I don't really understand why the DOE doesn't have some sort of teacher forum or wiki in place for ideas and questions... it seems like a pretty basic concept in these times... and what if teachers were able to submit ideas for reform and the teacher base votes on the reforms or changes? Could we create quick, lasting, and global changes to our departments of education? We see this practice in a few case studies in Groundswell... so why not in education? You want to compare education to the traditional workplace, then by golly, we need to start using some of the communication tools they're using. Because education is in a bad place. Let's not half ass this people. I feel like the unions, reformers, and all involved have been calling this in lately - let's make some real change - from the bottom up - where the innovation should have been coming from in the first place.

So who's with me? Education revolution? What? And do you have thoughts on how? Post 'em below!


  1. Great post, Ian. Here is an example of the types of insane hurdles surrounding the change you and I are seeking: at my school, Twitter is blocked on the network. The fear, of course, being that students will just waste time on social networking sites. To me, this is like saying, "we don't allow our students to talk because they'll spend most their time swearing at each other".

  2. Ha, well said re:Twitter. What's interesting about this is how well our kids - the digital natives - are able to move past, with such an incredible agility, expensive and time consuming fire walls.
    So here's my question - how do we make these social media technologies viable in the learning environment?
    Could we use twitter to tweet interesting articles to students or homework assignments? Could we use google apps to get homework assignments online? What are some of the thoughts you have on wrangling in social media (which the kids are immersed in) to education's benefit?