Listening. That’s the big idea. It may be a simple idea, but it’s one that doesn’t seem to be common practice these days. While we all agree there are problems with the current educational system, there seems to be little agreement as to the specific nature of the problems or of how to solve them.
In order to come to better consensus, we need to:
- Ask the right questions. As learning designers, we know how to devise the right questions to prompt a conversation around what is missing and how to get there. We need to get back to asking the questions before we provide the answers.
- Use silence to its best advantage. Some people are uncomfortable with silence, but in the moments between asking your brilliant questions and your target audience responding to them, some powerful thinking is taking place. I’ve been nudged plenty of times but held my ground and been pleased with the results.
- Bring the right group of people together to make the conversation meaningful. I’ve written about the fantastic partnerships taking place between the public and private sector these days. Business and technology are finally at the table. Let’s just make sure that the voice of today’s educators and today’s students continue to be part of the mix.
In the cacophony that is educational reform, there appears to be no shortage of solutions, many of them involving the application of technology in one form or another:
- Learning management systems to track formal learning
- Tin Can API to promote informal learning
- Competency-based learning management systems to provide credit for life experience
- Blended learning programs to address personal learning
- Gaming to enhance engagement, etc.
- New professional development programs and platforms to catch teachers up with all this new technology
These solutions all have great potential to change the way we approach learning in PK-12, higher ed and in the workplace.
But before we start throwing money and code around any further, can we stop for a minute to listen? That’s my big idea for 2015, to start a campaign for listening. And I’m going to launch that campaign right here and right now with a focus on PK-12. If you are interested in having your voice heard, please share your top three concerns with us in the comments section, or, better yet, take a few quick minutes to submit your responses to our quick Education State of the State Survey here.
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