The personal learning network for educators
As I prepare my thoughts for the first brainstorming meeting for my new job (Instructional Technology), I'm thinking about what is obviously the future of education: 21st century skills. Weather you agree with this direction or not, the current vision of education is to put all our eggs in developing 21st century skills and expecting educators of all types to adapt immediately. The pressure isn't just from administrators, school boards, and state and federal departments of education. The real pressure is from the students.
As some 21st century learners have pointed out, the platform that teacher have used to teach has suddenly become irrelevant. See Dan3.0's "An Open Letter to Educators".
The irrefutable point that Dan makes is that KNOWLEDGE IS FREE!... as long as you are fortunate enough to afford a computer and access to the internet.
What his argument really points out is that students are learning. They are learning in a lot of ways that are completely foreign to their teachers. And they are not doing it nearly as effectively as they could if educators helped them. We need to help them learn to apply what they know about social networks to create personal learning networks but they can't do that unless they have someone in their network that can help them learn school type curricula.
What is school curricula after 2010? If we all have access to knowledge for free, we need to redefine how we treat knowledge. All sources that reference 21st century skills focus on three verbs or synonyms of them: Create, Collaborate, and Share. With heavy emphasis on collaborate. Why? I believe it's because traditionally, it's the teachers biggest weakness. We don't have much experience with collaboration, at least not online.
So what does all this mean for my meeting... collaboration is king. Share what I know and don't be afraid they get stolen by someone else or shot down... Knowledge is free! What matters is how we collaborate once the knowledge is out there and how we synthesize it into an effective plan for the district.