Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Paradigm Thrift

I'm seeing a lot of #ISTE and #edtech tweets this week. For all the wonderfulness the edtech revolution seems to be bringing to learning, I'm betting it will take several years before the majority of mid-career teachers actually teach in a new paradigm, if they ever do. Rather, I see a lot of new tools in old paradigms.

That's actually just fine with me. I'm all for tech. The role of teacher as dispensary of critical information has -- for the most part -- passed and all, but I see the need for a different paradigm shift. It's not about the toys. It's about the game.

From my perspective, I believe we are still taking our desired end product, molding it into a limited set of variants, and forcing students through one of the variant sieves. We are all aflutter about the technology, but the approach is largely the same. I want to know if we can remake a school by the following paradigm: trust the student as learner. The key to that trust? The student's own passion.

The next several posts will pose questions related to that idea -- that a student's passion is the single greatest indicator of her best career track and therefore, her ideal course of study. I have no data - yet. But with passion (to be defined) as the frame, can we custom-build an individualized curriculum that still meets standards and creates capable democratic citizens?