In my “downtime” since being laid-off I have grown to love my Kindle. I don’t know what I would do without it. One of the “features” I have grown fond of is the Amazon “Shorts”; I’m not sure if that is what they are really called, but that is the title I have given them. These are short stories, usually between 10 – 50 pages, perfect for people with short attention spans. They usually run anywhere from free and 2 bucks. I’ve read stories on The Korean War, World War II, and the Revolution. I’ve read stories on supply chain management, common core standards, and diversity in the classroom. I’ve read shorts on acing a teaching interview, painting scale models, and writing a resume. Each one, short, sweet and to the point. Now I am reading a short titled “Why School? How Education Must Change When Learning and Information are Everywhere by Will Richardson.
"In times of great change, learners will inherit the earth, while the learned will be beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists" (Hoffer, Eric). Are our schools ready to produce learners? Objectively, producing a “learner” is the goal of the Common Core Standards. That is the intention any way, yet we still have not figured out how to producing learners, after all our “factories” are tooled to produce the learned. This is the deduction taken in the book.
Will Richardson is careful not to call out teachers or school administrators, but the onus lies with us, the educators. We have hidden behind the excuse of curriculum and shrugged off chances of improvement with contentious arguments against the new common core standards. Why not now? With the world of education being turned on its ear by the new standards, why wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) we? The standards are changing and everyone (or at least most) has the proverbial fear of change.
Will states in the book “Plain and simple, the web and the technologies we us to access it drive those changes. And those changes are in a word profound” (Will Richardson). We as educators can set the level of profoundness of these changes. Make yourself a promise for the upcoming school year…pledge to make an effort to create a blog, start a website, and digitize your classroom. As Richardson states “today, if we have an internet connection, we have fingertip, on-demand access to an amazing library that holds close to the sum of human knowledge and, equally important, to more than two billion people with whom we can potentially learn”.