So now that we’ve convinced everyone to buy-in, what will our change look like? The simple answer is radically different. While the traditional classroom environment will still be evident, space must be created to explore, test, analyze, and evaluate.
For some students, the confined spaces of a “normal’ classroom are restrictive and do not allow for exploration. Our computers are stored in a cart, and other multi-media is stowed away for “safe keeping”. In our new classroom, students will need instant access to the internet, to books, to other students, and to experts. They must have room to test and evaluate their theories. They should be able to get instant feedback from experts outside the schools walls, perhaps even in other counties. They should be able to collaborate with other students, constantly tweaking and overhauling their ideas. If we want our students to become problem solvers, we must provide them with the tools to do so.
While some may say a school like this would be a tremendous expense. Today’s schools struggle just to get access to a few computers. While this is true, remember, we now (or at least in our perfect world) have buy-in from corporations and others outside the school walls. We can tap into their resources. Perhaps we might someday convince research companies to open research labs within schools? Why not? After all, since kindergarten students have been taught how to problem solve right?
Imagine if you will a software company trying to design the perfect gaming system. These companies spend countless dollars on research and development. Why not reduce that cost buy having a group of 11 year old students develop and test your system?
While this may seem extreme, landing a man on Mars was extreme to me when I was growing up. Unless we adapt our education system to meet the needs of our changing world, we may just find ourselves relegated to the scrape heap!