Drawing from plate tectonics as a metaphor, the structures that support and underlie global learning (eg. land masses) are moving, colliding and reshaping learning landscapes every day. In TechTonics, the plates are global: cultural, economic, political, environmental “plates” all interact with technology, and are constantly in play. While these changes may not be evident inside the majority of our classrooms, they are prevalent everywhere else.
Forces have been building for decades. On the surface, little has changed. We still go to school (either to teach, or to learn, or both). We still follow a “one size fits all” curriculum, based on the time our seats are in chairs, instead of how the engagement of our hearts and minds leads us towards competencies and mastery.
In a planetary sense, we are passengers who witness with little opportunity to influence these staggering forces. Yet we are entering a new era where the application of more than three decades’ research into how people learn is beginning to create powerful TechTonic shifts. We can use these as LEVERS to begin shaping the changes in directions we’d like to see.
The introduction of technology into what my good friend Dr. Tom Ryan calls “the legacy model” of education does little to change the results. By itself, technology is value neutral…while it may get you where you’re going faster, if your destination was a dead end, you’ll only discover that sooner.
However, today’s destination of 21st Century learning requires that all learners (students, teachers, parents, community) move beyond scripts and formulas to become skilled improvisers, who know how to create learning paths to meet continually evolving goals. Learning to “play the changes” is a fundamental lesson for all jazz players, so I will draw on this source of insights, and apply them more widely to the interdisciplinary worlds of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) as well as C-STEM (which focuses on computational thinking, modeling, etc.) and STEAM (which adds the Arts).
In this blog, I share with you what my journey into digital learning has revealed over the past 30 years. The best part of this learning has been the relationships with innovators and pioneers, people who exemplify Anders Ericsson’s observations about investing 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. I will feature interviews and collaborations with these amazing folks here. My intent is to generate a working, living, breathing guide book we can use to navigate TechTonic Change in order expand and improve opportunities for all learners, everywhere.