Richard Florida has an worthy of note point of view in the March issue of the Atlantic titled “How the Crash Will Reshape America.” Florida states,
. . . If we take as a first principle that we really have to invest in the creativity of each and every individual—and give people the right to express their creative talents in ways that they find interesting and relevant—then I think we will end up with a better future than we otherwise would have had…The phrase “great reset” really resonated with me, not only in the economic way he was using it but also in terms of K-12 education. He quotes Stanford economist Paul Romer, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” and I think that applies directly to the current situation in K-12 education. The current economic crisis only amplifies and exacerbates the current crisis we are experiencing in our schools, and if we continue to “waste public investment on bailing out [schools] of the past,” then we will indeed be wasting this crisis.
From my perspective I agree with Florida and Romer. I feel our education system is wasting many opportunities by neglecting to examine the vast amount of resources available to education on the web. Rather than having educators determine what is an educational resource the education system leaves it up to one technologist to determine what should be accessible to the students and staff in our school. Therefore, many Web 2.0 devices such as Google docs are frozen and inaccessible by the students and the teacher has only limited access. Many sites teachers want to use, as educational tools need a technician to view the materials. Then a technician has the power to curtail and delay the accessibility to the online educational resources. After this delay, the technician seeks the approval for accessibility from two local board members who are not educators. How does this inspire teachers to use their creativity to develop inspirational instruction and creativity in the students?
Educational video a teacher wants to use often requires written request for accessibility. This request is sent the technical department for approval. I apologize in advance for ranting, but I consider myself as a professional. I feel it is my responsibility to educate the students about what is responsible and safe use of online resources. I believe the present restrictive system is put in place to protect the standardization in the education system. Standardization in education may feel safe for some people but I feel it is a detrimental response to the reshaping of society and the development of creativity.
Fisch verifies a similar belief by stating,
I feel it is important to spend time investigating new ways to creatively account for the successes of the students. Accountability is necessary, but effective accountability comes when the students are required to reflect upon their own achievements on a daily basis several times throughout the day.
I teach in an environment where differentiated instruction is a necessity to individualizing students’ programming, thus there needs to be a component of differentiate evaluation to quickly spark, direct and if need be redirect students’ attitudes, motivation and creativity towards learning. I do not have time to ponder whether or not I will be allowed accessibility to the resources I deem productive tools of my profession.
In his blog, “The Great Reset: A Crisis (in K-12 Education) is a Terrible Thing to Waste,” Karl Fisch states,
Our [schools are] in the midst of a fundamental long-term transformation,” shifting away from a model that values standardization and conformity toward one that values creativity and differentiation. I would also suggest that “velocity of ideas” and “density of talented and creative people” is what we would ideally hope for in our schools, but I wonder if our schools – as currently structured – allow those talented and creative people to flourish and explore those ideas.
I believe there is a need to educate student about responsible use of Web 2.0 resources, but I encounter numerous restrictions placed on educational professionals’ access which I feel are discriminative in to my statues as a professional and detrimental to my creativity. I am finding the issue of accessibility is a challenge in my practice and an inconsistently used way of mediating what various schools have access to throughout the division. It is my hope that the division will allow unrestrained use of the resources offered in Web 2.0, so the professionals in education have the ability to creatively use these tools to create differentiated instruction and curriculum, such as would the ‘law society’ offers lawyers and the ‘board of ethics’ offers doctors. If society is to access creativity, promote socially constructivism, and design differentiated infrastructure to reshape and address societal needs, I feel my persistence to freely access worldwide online educational resources should be an openly accepted policy by the board of education and the public. I am an educational professional and would like to be treated as such, if I am truly expected to assist in the reshaping of school and society.
According to Fisch,
We should be taking this opportunity to “reset” our schools, to “create new patterns of” teaching and learning and “spend our money on the right kind of projects and the rights kinds of infrastructure.” We need to “take as a first principle that we really have to invest in the creativity of each and every [teacher and student] – and give [teachers and students] the right to express their creative talents in ways that they find interesting and relevant…While I think he perhaps underestimates the power of technology to allow that “agglomeration” and to bring together “human capital” in geographically dispersed locations, his argument for bringing together people in dynamic environments focused on creativity and innovation makes a lot of sense to me (whether they are geographically concentrated or technologically connected). How many of us would describe our school as dynamic environments focused on creativity and innovation? (The Great Reset: A Crisis (in K-12 Education) is a Terrible Thing to Waste)
Once again, I am a professional, and I want to continue to educate myself about the up-to-date resources available to me to create a hopeful pedagogy. I am not accustom to loosing when faced with a crisis. In a time of world crisis, I feel I am being forced into a loosing position by the present standardized educational process and hierarchy. On a professional level I would like to be recognized and valued enough to be part of the solution to assist in the successful emergence from this global crisis because I believe, as does Fisch,
At times of crisis, the eventual “winners” that emerge are those that are bold and seize the crisis to move forward, taking advantage of the altered landscape to achieve their mission in creative, innovative and powerful ways. Unfortunately, at the moment, I’m seeing very little evidence of bold thinking. So, in this time of multiple crises, I would challenge my school district, and all K-12 schools, to not waste this crisis but, instead, reinvent themselves and look forward, not back. If we do, then, like Richard Florida, “I think we will end up with a better future than we otherwise would have had.”
I believe it is going to take a bottom up approach to come up with productive innovative solutions, so those of us on the front lines of education need to be recognized for and allowed our professional right to practice education in collaborative way. This collaboration begins with access to technology, which holds the keys to the economic and social crisis education faces. As an educational professional, I am learning to challenge myself in creating inexpensive ways to motivate creative thinking to actually assure “No child is left behind.”
This is how I feel I will be able to maintain my integrity, as a professional in the field of education when blanket statements are being used to justify standardization, segregation, dependency and oppression rather than creativity, collaboration, self-determination and freedom.