We’ve all been to school. Look at me — I’ve never left. So, we all think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s supposed to happen there.
Let’s review …
One of the historical goals of schools has been to provide students with enough knowledge of ‘stuff’ and ‘skills’ to be productive citizens once they graduate. To achieve this, students have historically been ‘consumers’ of information or content — they learned from the ‘knowledge keepers’ — our teachers. As curriculum evolved, new courses were created, teachers learned the content and then imparted this knowledge. Sort of the ‘sage on the stage’ kind of process. It was pretty much a unidirectional mode of information transfer.
In today’s world, there is still a need for a content expert who knows ‘stuff’ — a teacher who’s been to post-secondary and become a subject area or learning specialist. This need won’t change anytime soon — teachers continue to be an absolutely critical component of student success.
But times are changing …
In today’s world the role of the teacher IS fundamentally changing. Content is ubiquitous — we can find it just about anywhere on the internet in a virtual space accessible by a few clicks on your smartphone or a verbal question to SIRI. Content no longer resides solely in the domain of the teacher. In fact, students are often far better content masters than their teachers on any number of topics.
So, what does this mean for the traditional learning paradigm?
As an education system, we are seeing a dramatic shift where students were simply CONSUMERS of content and information, to students becoming their own CREATORS of new and wonderful content, ideas, problems and solutions. Students use content to create new ‘stuff’ — becoming experts in areas of interest to them — all while being guided by knowledgeable teachers who help them navigate the virtual world of the internet and it’s information sources.
Take three minutes to watch this video from The Piano Guys — take a look at their CREATION of new content using an existing structure. Make sure that you have your volume turned up — it’s worth it. Then, we’ll chat some more:
Transforming what we already know (e.g. how to play the piano) into new and wonderful options (e.g. using the piano as a multi-faceted instrument) is an example of the new horizon for our education system. This transformative concept of learning takes what we already know and turns it on its head to perhaps make it something truly innovative — maybe even more useful, practical, applicable and beautiful than the original.
Think about some of the skills and attributes being used by The Piano Guys in the above video. Some of what I see and hear:
- Pure Joy
As part of the new educational paradigm taking hold in BC, creativity and ingenuity are even more powerful new tools in our modern classrooms.
RE-THINK the common
RE-IMAGINE the norm
RE-PURPOSE the ordinary
So, when we ask our students to ‘think outside of the box’ let’s also not forget to tell them that it could actually BE the box that we need to re-think.