"Schools haven't changed in one hundred years."
It is a compelling statement and brings a strong emotional reaction, but the thing is that it is totally untrue. Walk into any classroom anywhere around the world and I'll bet that you won't see anything like classrooms of one hundred years ago. You'll see students working in groups, you'll see more project work, more simulations, more games, you'll see student work displayed and celebrated, and you'll see assessment AS learning and FOR learning, not just OF learning. I could go on....
Why have we seen so much change?
One of the reasons, of course is that we've developed deeper pedagogical understanding and that has resulted in improved teaching and learning. The other reason is that schools have and will always be built on compromises. The way we "do school" has always been our best effort given what we have and what is possible.
The good news is that modern technologies are resulting in the eradication of many of these compromises.
For example, textbooks have been increasingly seen as a compromise that our schools, particularly in lower grades, no longer need to make. The compromise of a single authoritative source has been removed by the proliferation of multiple easily accessible sources.
Another example? What about individual work and the individual view of knowledge? Have our collaborative tools that overcome the individual single-user piece of paper, mean that we can overcome the compromise of an individual view of knowledge construction and embrace a reality of shared meaning making?
The danger is that over time these compromises stop being seen as compromises and start being seen as way learning in schools SHOULD happen.
In the comments I'd love to hear from you:
What are the compromises that modern technology and virtual learning have overcome in your teaching and learning program at your school?
What are the compromises that you imagine with one day be overcome?
This is the second post in series of post on the reasons for adopting virtual learning environments in your school. If you haven't already read it the first post is Build On Your Strengths.