If you’re an educator today, and you aren’t reading the words of futurist Mark Pesce, then you ought to rectify that immediately. He presented at a conference in Wollongong today (I know not whom for, but it definitely was connected to education) and I’m sure he made an impact. He made an impact on me, and I didn’t see him deliver the presentation. I read it on his blog, the human network – what happens after we’re all connected? The great thing about Mark Pesce is that he values sharing his thinking and makes it easily accessible. If you want to learn from him, you can. You just need to make the effort to read.
His presentation today was entitled, Helicopter Lessons, his thesis about childhood development and hyperconnectivity. There are lessons here for teachers. Many of them. Lessons we ought to be taking heed of. Mark expressed something I feel about the opportunities being presented to us now with the onset of the proposed Australian Curriculum. (yes people, that is what they are calling it now, forget that National Curriculum terminology. Get with the program!) Here’s what Mark said (but he needs to catch up with the change in name too : ));
We’re very lucky, because just at this moment in time, the Commonwealth has gifted us with the best reason we’re ever likely to receive – the National Curriculum. Now that every student, everywhere across Australia, is meant to be covering the same materials, we have every reason to connect together – student to student, teacher to teacher, school to school, state to state. The National Curriculum is thought of as a mandate, but it’s really the architecture of a network. It describes how we all should connect together around a body of knowledge. If we know that we should be teaching calculus or Mandarin or the Eureka Stockade rebellion, we have an opportunity to connect together, pool our knowledge and our ignorance, and work together. We can use our hyperconnectivity to hyperempower our ability to work toward understanding.
This could be a gift, if we can move our teaching community to an understanding that shared knowledge is a very powerful tool. It’s a huge shift for some in the teaching profession, who are too frightened to load their resources into a single site learning management system, let alone share with a community of teacher learners nationwide. But it’s something worth working towards. Hopefully the communities of teacher learners that are forming in networks like Twitter can be the connective and cognitive glue that starts this process moving forward. Wouldn’t it be great if an organisation like DEEWR actually sat up and noticed what is happening at the grassroots level already and supported and encouraged communities of practice like this? Now there’s a revolutionary idea. Someone should run with that one. : )
Make sure you read Mark’s essay. He touches on so much more than the sampling I have shared here. I find his words resonate for days and help me to formulate my own thinking. I’m sure you’ll benefit from the reading.