Our mental models are the biggest barrier to moving schools forward into a digital, global era

What is the biggest barrier to moving schools forward into a technology-suffused, globally-interconnected era? Our mental models of what schooling should look like.

Unfortunately, most educators, parents, and policymakers have no idea what it truly means to prepare students for this kind of world.

Don’t believe me? Go ahead and ask ‘em.

15 Responses to “Our mental models are the biggest barrier to moving schools forward into a digital, global era”

  1. I agree. When we talk about “reform” we tend to focus on small, incremental aspects of school and schooling. Many educators and parents, having not been raised in an ultra-connected, always-on learning world, just don’t know what they don’t know (I wish I could take credit for inventing that term). When they see or hear someone talking about “new” schools that don’t start with the traditional limitations of time and place, they have a hard time imagining how that could be their school. Sadly, the way things may not be ideal in their eyes and minds but it may be just OK enough…

  2. Leave out the terms technology-suffused & globally-interconnected and I will still agree with this statement.

  3. Our mental barriers are the biggest barrier to ourselves… relating, parenting, schooling are but a by product of that missing link. Blue pill or red pill, that is question.

  4. This entry really resonated with me. The international school where I teach is currently undergoing an MSA accreditation so we are re-writing our curriculum. When we started the process I asked whether we could assume a laptop program and was told that since we don’t yet have a 1-1 laptop program, the curriculum should be traditional. I feel like we are just wasting time.

    Shouldn’t everything we do assume that students have 24/7 access to Google, Wikipedia, et al? How would ACTs, SATs, APs, IGCSEs look if they assumed students had internet access while taking the exams? We need to teach in a way that maximizes the benefit of access, not limits it.

  5. I don’t believe anyone truly knows what education will look like ten years from now but technology will be a big part of it. The work place and your everyday life will require you to interact with technology so to prepare our kids for the future they must be able to use many different technologies.

  6. I often wonder as well what education will look like 10 years from now. Thinking back to how my school operated 10 years ago compared with now??? Not much has changed except for how I approach teaching and learning with the students in my classroom. Given the slow progression of change over the past 10 years I sadly don’t expect that much change over the next 10 years. I have my vision of how I can be teaching and it most likely won’t be in the structure of “traditional” public school. Currently I make changes within my classroom domain but I will reach the point where having to be in a physical classroom teaching 20 students during a defined time period on a given day won’t make the most sense. I asked my students yesterday as we were having a discussion about globalization and Friedman’s book, The World is Flat, “Do we all really need to be in this room during this specified time period to be having this discussion?” My students were rather shocked and didn’t know what to make of this. They can’t see beyond their own mental models of school either.

  7. I am a 62 year old educator who loves technology and can’t get enough of it. I can see how important it is gear up for the world as the babies being born now will see it.

  8. The other part of that is the mental models of change within the system. Take online learning, people are trying to sell me on ideas of just doing what we’ve been doing just now online.

    At the i11i conference we at least slowed down a little and began to stretch the mental models of education, but as they stretch they pop back into place once back in front of our staffs, patrons and students.

    Then there are the systems that refuse to move, that we all know need changed (DE, FEDERAL MANDATES, CHAPTER 12) that we can’t move past even though we want to much less mentally addressing them.

  9. The problem is that while we may all acknowledge that the current system is flawed, who actually has a better one to replace it? Our education system, transportation system, health care system, system of government, power grid and generation, all fundamentally flawed and in many ways unfixably broken, we do our best to work around the flaws. If we magically were given technology to replace every car with an electric one, our electric grid would collapse, yet putting some electric cars on the road is a wonderful improvement. The same is true with our educational system. We can not change overnight, and complaining loudly about how bad things are does not help the change to happen, and gives fuel to those who would happily tear down what we have to replace it with nothing.

  10. If we magically were given technology to replace every car with an electric one, our electric grid would collapse,Take online learning, people are trying to sell me on ideas of just doing what we’ve been doing just now online.

  11. In order for us to move toward this idea of education, our current teachers should be able to prepare our students now. Even some of my college professors can’t figure out how to open files from their jump drives to start their power point lecture. We pay thousands of dollars to earn a college education and we have professors that can’t check their e-mail. How are we supposed to move into a technologically-suffused era?? I am currently expecting my first child, and I hope that by the time he starts school, we will have made significant changes in the way our teachers teach, and our students learn.

  12. That’s very true, most don’t understand what that means. All I can really say is Powerpoint is not enough.

  13. Kirsten-

    I so agree with your statement about needing a room,called a classroom, to hold engaging conversations about learning. I have just started a reading blog for the kids I teach…I am mesmerized by their thoughts and reflections. Are they perfect, no, but with time and guidance they will be a lot better and they will have learned to become effective communicators with a little guidance from me…outside of the classroom.

  14. I’m surprised by those folks who are moving to a 1:1 situation yet cannot describe what it should look like and how it will differ from what they already have. I worry that they’re destined to just have what they already have – but with a lot more computers.

  15. I’m going to put the title of this post my email signature for a while!

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