I used the analogy of developing new cognitive maps for the information and communication landscape of the 21st century in the conclusion of my spotlight presentation at MacWorld back in January. Like the European explorers of the 15th century, we’re moving into uncharted waters. I really like that analogy, because it communicates this idea of a bigger world outside our own personal experiences and even comprehension that we’re continuing to discover, explore, and better understand together. Web 2.0 and our digital world overall closely parallels this metaphor of redrawing maps for an uncharted world.
While it is certainly true that I, like many others, get frustrated at times with the slower pace of change in schools relative to other parts of our society and economy and even rethink the ways I’m challenging others to think about those changes, I remain extremely optimistic overall. School 2.0 IS going to happen, and it seems likely that all of us have important roles to play in this transformation.
Along those lines, David Truss has done some wonderful synthesis from many voices in the blogosphere in his post from today, “The Web2.0 Prophecy: An Adventure.” Of the nine insights he offers, my favorite is the eighth:
THE EIGHTH INSIGHT . . . THE INTERPERSONAL ETHIC We can increase the frequency of guiding coincidences by uplifting every person that comes into our lives. Care must be taken not to lose our inner connection in romantic relationships. Uplifting others is especially effective in groups where each member can feel energy of all the others. With children it is extremely important for their early security and growth. By seeing the beauty in every face, we lift others into their wisest self, and increase the chances of hearing a synchronistic message.
THIS IS WHERE WE NEED TO BE NOW!
We need our ‘guiding coincidences’ to be ones that are nurturing and powerful.
We need to collaborate, empower one another, and see potential rather than roadblocks. This is important for our children/our students, but it is equally important for us. Our ‘synchronistic message’ can’t be “impatience, frustration and dissatisfaction” as I mentioned earlier.
Our message must be uplifting. But an uplifting message isn’t enough!
We need financial support, visionary leaders, moral compasses, inspiring role models, enriching professional development, and meaningful collaboration. We also need minimally restricted content and unlimited access… these are all building blocks that ‘increase the frequency of guiding coincidences’… these are the things that inspire us, fuel us, connect us, and allow us to see the potential in ourselves and each other. We truly can ‘Be the change we want to see in the world.’
Uplifting collaboration is what the K-12 Online Conference in 2006 was all about for me. As I prepare for a panel discussion about K12 Online with several others for later this month at the SITE conference in San Antonio, I am reminded of the valuable experiences, new connections, and powerful lessons which the participants in K12 Online gave me last fall.
Alone and isolated, it is easy to feel frustrated, unempowered, deflated and pessimistic. Connected to others with similar educational goals and vision via face-to-face relationships and the edublogosphere, it is much easier to feel empowered and be filled with hope. Our best advocates are the students themselves. As Miguel Guhlin wrote in his post Saturday, “Kindling for the Flame:”
let their voices, that of the learners, ring throughout our schools, voices that speak of relevance, authenticity, and human connections…in ways that cannot be denied.
Projects like International Teen Life and YouthBridges, which Lee Baber and others are helping coordinate, are BIG pieces of the conversation that is changing and will change the perceptions of adults in decision-making roles for schools. I’m optimistic that the ongoing conversations we are having here, along with K-12 Online in the fall of 2007, will constructively contribute to those conversations as well.
Ultimately, it is conversations which change us. How do you redraw your map of a rapidly changing information landscape? By gathering around the campfire, and telling stories with your friends. It takes a spark to get a fire going. We’re living amidst big changes, and we each have potential to serve as prime movers within these changes in our own communities:
The driving force within an individual or group of people or a state of being is sometimes named with the latin term of a primum movens or “primum mobile”. Prime Movership stands for the quality of being a prime mover, i. e. the first to move, to create or to reach a state, which has not been reached by many or others at all before. Prime Movership has been specifically defined as “the mind-set of value creation.”
It takes a catalyst to start a chain reaction:
In chemistry and biology, catalysis is the acceleration (increase in rate) of a chemical reaction by means of a substance, called a catalyst, that is itself not consumed by the overall reaction…A catalyst decreases the activation energy of a chemical reaction. Catalysts participate in reactions but are neither reactants nor products of the reaction they catalyze…They work by providing an alternative pathway for the reaction to occur, thus reducing the activation energy and increasing the reaction rate. More generally, one may at times call anything that accelerates a reaction, without itself being consumed or changed, a “catalyst” (for example, a “catalyst for political change”).
Accept the mantle of leadership as a prime mover and catalyst for constructive educational change in your own locality. Among my favorite quotations to which I often turn when I’m in need of some inspiration, the following words from George Bernard Shaw (in Maxims for Revolutionists) resonate with me:
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Is it reasonable to expect the educational system in which you are now embroiled to transform itself anytime soon? Perhaps not, if you were working alone.
But you are not alone. We are together, here in this virtual space but also in the real spaces we share on this planet. And together, especially when we collaborate and use our available technologies as powerful amplifiers for the appropriate and persuasive voices of our students, we have powers that can extend beyond any of our individual imaginations or dreams.
We need to continue to collaborate. We need to continue the conversation. Individually and collectively, we need to continue to serve as prime movers and catalysts for transformative conversations which are and will continue to change the world.
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On this day..
- Free Browser-based Screencasting with Screencast-O-Matic - 2014
- Mobile Videography on an iPad2 with iMovie - 2011
- Tethered iPhone Internet Access with iPhoneModem (Jailbreak required) - 2010
- Study encourages a less hyped view of social networking risks - 2008
- Show notes from Mom - 2007
- Creative Commons 3.0 licenses - 2007
- Medal of Honor Winners Podcast - 2006