16 December 2011

Rockin' Change

What began as a whispering wind through corridors of power which  only a privileged few had access to,  has now become an urgent, repeated cry among increasingly more educators worldwide.  There has always been a need for change in education; for it is educational systems that prepare the youth for the coming challenges and adaptations of their adult lives. Political systems and economic models may  heavily influence the framework of education, however, today it is no surprise that with global connectedness,  it is the power of the Internet which has become the electric driving force of change - within and out of education. 

This pulsation of change is not a particular feature of today either; it began in the late 1980's, with scientific, industrial and economic changes. Education, as so often happens, tends to lag behind the changes in the real world outside classroom walls and administrative papers. More than any other field, I feel strongly about the needs for education and preparing learners to think critically, to fulfill their passions in life, to become full fledged participants in their social environments. Yet, the world of education is slow. Changes come and go in fields of medicine, technology, industry; the public demand better consumer quality, friendly consumer prices, cutting-edge treatments for their health and lives. Nevertheless change in attitudes, in teaching approaches, in educational management  take time to trickle down to classrooms. 

If in the past educators were trapped by lack of funding for professional development, today there is little excuse. There are so many ways to keep up-to-date and to learn openly, freely, without fear of reprisal.  It is a question of personal choice. 

So, with the wealth of blogs, open publications, online networks, (see My Favourite Scoops and Sites for Educators for some examples  of what is freely available to anyone who wishes to learn) what more could I possibly say today to add to the urgent need for a change in classroom practices? Consider the following:

This is a recent  infographic on today's youth today (and this does not include toddlers who are now learning with iPads, for example):

Are you ready to prepare, to engage, to captivate, to encourage their learning?

Ah! But not everyone is ready, not everyone wants to learn digitally, you may say. Yes, that is true. I too have encountered in-built resistance from both educators and students. Yes, context may be all, but so is learning, preparing one's learners with the necessary educational ethics, knowing one is doing the best one can to prepare them for a fast-paced changing world, where the future will definitely be different to the present and that learners today require a different set of skills to be able to participate actively in that world.  Which does not mean that I may not be wrong. After all, some people still believe the world is flat (see S is for Stephen). And that is ok.  Change takes time and ignorance is destined to fade away.

Change, however, waits for no one. Two examples I would like to add here come from the world of publishing and music.

Feed Them With Music is a non-profit organisation which helps feed the globally malnourished by contributing with a  percentage  of revenue from live concerts, artist's merchandise, music downloads and live web-casts.  It is no longer a question of holding a concert to help raise funds for charity but a different mind-set altogether. One that is global, open to all.

What about publishing? As a curator, I find increasing publications and academic journals open to the public, open and free for whoever wishes to learn.  Cambridge Digital Library is an example which comes to mind.

leading possibilities is another. A glossy magazine, with stunning photography, excellent interviews, articles of current affairs and more, leading possibilities  is set to become thE magazine of 2012. All digital. All online. Available where ever, whenever, with the visual size one wishes. Entirely up-to-date.

Having grown up with medical doctors, it never crossed my mind to have any medical treatment which was not up-to-date, not ethical,  nor insured good medical practices. Although I do not hold one's life in my hands and fingers, I cannot avoid being ethical in my educational practices, when it comes to teaching and learning. Education is an integral element of change.

What winds of change will you be whispering in your world of 2012?

Images created with: Tiny Tags and Hetemeel  

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