Boy, when I asked what people would like to read about, I got lots of suggestions. So I began my book chapter.
I began my book chapter.
And I began my book chapter.
(Yeah, I was having a hard time focusing on one idea.)
So, I wrote 6 pages,, called it “Transformation,” and sent them to Darah.
(I did title my email subject line as “I know this is long, but. . . ” and give him permission to cut as needed.)
But I still felt bad I didn’t/couldn’t focus, and I also knew that everyone else’s had been 2-3 pages, so I felt like I was being Miss Piggy, taking up so much reading real estate. So, continuing to ponder all the ideas my Twitterfolk had shared, I slept on my guilt and lack of focus.
And I slept on my guilt and lack of focus.
And I slept on my guilt and lack of focus.
Until I came up with another idea and wrote 3 pages this time, called “The Creation Generation.” It begins like this:
Many words have been written about Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and now Web 3.0, delineating the use in each era as consumers, producers and now collaborators. What our current students have gotten out of their use of technology, though, is that it is easy for them to create—a wiki, blog, a photo mosaic on Flickr, an online presence through sites such as Club Penguin and Webkinz for younger students and Twitter and Facebook for older ones. Heck, we even have students as young as 10 building applications for technologies such as the iPods. Students not only see the web as interactive, and their world as connected (through their phones, texting, chatting, Skypeing and even their DS and PS2 game devices), but they also see it as directed by them—they control how they use it to a great degree.
In this chapter-to-be, I cite Ira Socol, David Cushman, and Larry Cuban, but I won’t steal any thunder from Darah’s book by posting that writing here. I will tell you, though, that both Ira and David have blogs worth reading, and the influence of me reading their thinking WILL show up in my blog thinking.
But, for those of you who made suggestions–many of which I attempted to incorporate into ONE writing–THAT, I will post here. . . but in bits and pieces, so you don’t have almost THREE THOUSAND words to read in one go. AND, I offer my sincerest thanks for the ideas.
To begin, this paragraph is for @maryjanewaite who said, “I’d like to read how kids view schoolwork, teachers, technology and use that valuable kid info to change how I do my job” and sort of for @jasondeluca who “would want to read… where are we now? and… where should we be going with use of technology?” (More to come later, Jason!)
A 2001 contest for children to describe “The School We’d Like” clearly showed that “teachers and pupils all over the country (UK) realise that the system is outdated, that it does not allow decent expression of the values of creativity and independent thought that are needed in the new post-industrial world,” said John Clifford. Furthermore, “It proves yet again that young people are not a problem that needs to be corralled and curfewed, but an incredible rich resource of wisdom and creative thinking that we should learn to listen to.” See below for a children’s manifesto of what the schoolchildren of Britain would like to see in their school. The most poignant quote for me was a HS student’s: “Education should not close children’s eyes to the wonder of learning as it presently does, but should give children the opportunity to feed their mind and never get tired of life before theirs has even begun.”
We, the schoolchildren of Britain, have been given a voice. This is what we say:
The school we’d like is:
A beautiful school with glass dome roofs to let in the light, uncluttered classrooms and brightly coloured walls.
A comfortable school with sofas and beanbags, cushions on the floors, tables that don’t scrape our knees, blinds that keep out the sun, and quiet rooms where we can chill out.
A safe school with swipe cards for the school gate, anti-bully alarms, first aid classes, and someone to talk to about our problems.
A listening school with children on the governing body, class representatives and the chance to vote for the teachers.
A flexible school without rigid timetables or exams, without compulsory homework, without a one-size-fits-all curriculum, so we can follow our own interests and spend more time on what we enjoy.
A relevant school where we learn through experience, experiments and exploration, with trips to historic sites and teachers who have practical experience of what they teach.
A respectful school where we are not treated as empty vessels to be filled with information, where teachers treat us as individuals, where children and adults can talk freely to each other, and our opinion matters.
A school without walls so we can go outside to learn, with animals to look after and wild gardens to explore.
A school for everybody with boys and girls from all backgrounds and abilities, with no grading, so we don’t compete against each other, but just do our best.
At the school we’d like, we’d have:
Enough pencils and books for each child.
Laptops so we could continue our work outside and at home.
Drinking water in every classroom, and fountains of soft drinks in the playground.
School uniforms of trainers, baseball caps and fleece tracksuits for boys and girls.
Clean toilets that lock, with paper and soap, and flushes not chains.
Fast-food school dinners and no dinner ladies.
Large lockers to store our things.
A swimming pool.
This is what we’d like. It is not an impossible dream.
‘I know money doesn’t grow on trees and if every school had all these things it would cost thousands of thousands of pounds. But even if one of my ideas was just thought about being made a reality I’d be happy.’ Nicole Rennick, 11.
‘But most important of all was not the fact that the headmaster had ordered the equipment, but that he had listened.’ Holly Mackenzie, 11.
Remember this was written in 2001. I think today, students would STILL ask for a beautiful, comfortable, safe, respectful, flexible, relevant school for everybody, where everybody listened and everybody’s voice was heard.