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Whatever Happened To The Revolution?

After having the luxury of spending several days attending sessions at three recent conferences in three countries, I am overcome by how little time is being spent on the real issues I feel we should be addressing.

Despite all protestations, most of the sessions that I attend are perennially focused on either the ‘technology’; to wit… the ‘pocket-electronic-whiteboards’,or ‘ipad religious fervor’, or the ‘tools’… and I know this is also hallowed ground, but goodness how many times do we have to schedule sessions to “teach” someone how to blog?

When do we get to focus our best thinking on what it all makes possible for young people? When will we see some seriously bold and ambitious examples of what universal technology access can enable for learners? We’ve had the baby steps, the incrementalism, the ‘two steps forward, one step back’…now is the time surely for the revolution…or at least a glimmer of genuine transformation.

In talking about revolutions, I’m most mindful of the $2 billion spent in my home country, Australia, under the banner of what is called the “Digital Education Revolution”. It was spent with the aim of meeting an election promise to provide one million students across the country with access to a computer while they were at school. Yes, you heard right. Not universal 24/7 access for learning within a contemporary context, but rather a narrowly based election promise around hardware….and no vision. Fortunately in Australia however, much was restored through the energy and focus of State Education jurisdictions, most notably in Victoria and Queensland, along with some great work at the systemic level in the Catholic sector.

So has there been a revolution? Well if there has, I’ve missed it. But I can report there has been some exceptional work at the individual school and classroom level, and who knows-- even a Federal education bureaucracy as conservative and limited as Australia’s hasn’t been able to stifle great innovators or their students once the technology rabbit gets out of the hat!

So what does this mean?

Well it gives hope that great change is coming, despite every effort being made to hold it back; it means we must not ever believe a lack of political vision will stop the inevitable fundamental change that is looming for our schools, and it reinforces my earlier thoughts about the critical importance of us engaging in conversations around what really matters…and what is truly worth doing.

This was the important learning we reflected on in our recent ‘Right to Learn’ paper, and it is now even more important as we see exponentially growing numbers of young people around the world getting universal access to their own personal portable computer.

Viva la Revolution…a revolution not of technology, but of ideas!!

….as always, I’m interested in your thoughts…
September 14th, 2011 @ 12:56PM | 2 Comments | Post a Comment