“We are inescapably facing the fact that the workd is too big to know. And as a species we are adapting. Our traditional knowledge-based institutions are taking their first hesitant steps on land, and knowledge is beginning to show its new shape.” ~David Weinberger~
What do we really know about the human brain? A lot more than we did 20 years ago; likely a lot more than we did even 10 years ago. Last night we watched an episode of the Nature of Things titled Surviving the Teenage Brain. In the doc David Suzuki guides us through an engaging and detailed hour that @techieang and I found both amusing, informative and terrifying~ a state that we know all too well as the parents of 3 teenagers.
I’m also reading David Weinberger’s book Too Big to Know and have been thinking a lot about how our systems will need to adapt to the adaptations that networked technologies are prompting among our children.
One of Suzuki’s key premises that the use of mobile devices and social networks are literally evolving the adolescent brain as it undergoes that natural neural blooming and pruning process that is the actual root of adolescence.
How are we going to respond to this? So far we have considered these tools as a ‘want’ for our students and have responded accordingly. Are we ready to adapt our systems to the prospect that this sense of being connected is quite likely a necessity for our learners? In other words, its a hardware issue, rather than software?
I’m working on 3 key things to help navigate this transition:
Inclusion- diversity is a strength and students and families who are quite likely connected, through networks, with hundreds of others around the globe will need to have schools that help develop the habits and dispositions of inclusiveness in order for there to be a respectful and productive climate within these networks
Inquiry- content and knowledge is no longer scarce and is no longer the property of the few, it is spread out across networks that overlap, refine and re-shape it through social processes that are almost infinite in scope. Developing the habits and dispositions to inquire; based upon rich questions and relevant, personal and meaningful interests is critical. The bucket-o-facts is too small to hold the answers, but more than useful for pouring out the questions.
Innovation– Hope is not a strategy. We can’t hope for creative and adaptive thinking to develop, we need to re-wire our systems to ensure that there is the capacity for innovation to become part of the culture of public education. Teachers and school leaders must be open to innovative practice and provide the support, structures to enable innovation to happen.
Please respond with suggestions and practices that you know of, or are wishing for, in each of these areas; I’m eager to learn along with you.