Monday, 15 August 2011

Education Evolution

Sir Ken Robinson posted a link to this video and related website on Twitter recently. I really like the way these students have become advocates for a different type of education, one that is reflected in the learning spaces we inhabit as much as it is by the curriculum. It made me reflect on the role of the beanbag in class, the perceived need for interactive whiteboards at the front of the room and the role that mobile technology should play in learning (in and out of school). It also made me think about how we get the most out of the various learning spaces we will have in the new building, specifically the circulation and public spaces, the in-between spaces, and whether new kinds of furniture might be required to enable informal learning experiences to blossom.

The posts on the project blog are interesting too. The most recent one reveals the trials and tribulations of digital communication. After a brief flurry of interest near the publication of the initial video on YouTube, the class became disheartened that it had not gone viral. However, their message had certainly hit home at a local level, garnering an emotional response from the school's district superintendent. Now, it appears, the video has been picked up and promoted by various folks and is gathering a broader audience.

The construction of an online campaign is a fantastic way for young people to learn about digital tools but, most importantly, provides them with an opportunity to have their voices heard beyond the classroom and/or school where they happen to study. In the process, they can learn about the rights and responsibilities of authors and publishers, the etiquette of the internet, the various techniques for building (and keeping) an audience and the need to support their online campaign with all the conventional features of democracy: meetings, interviews, ballots, speeches, conferences etc.

I really hope this campaign continues to develop and reach educators and young people (and perhaps even politicians) across the globe. I wish the young people responsible for it every success in developing their already considerable skills.

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