James Bosco - Reschooling Society: Toward a New Era in American Education

The ideology and structure of public schooling in the U.S. was put in place in the mid-19th century. What is discernible about the role and nature of schooling in the context of our new social and cultural conditions?

About The Speaker(s)

James Bosco is professor emeritus at Western Michigan University and is the principal investigator for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) project funded by the MacArthur Foundation, titled "School Transformation with Digital Media and Learning: Leveraging a Leading-Edge Cadre of School District Leaders for Reimagining Learning." Over the past 20 years, he has been actively engaged in policy formation and development projects pertaining to educational and school reform.

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Questions Asked/Key Comments Made

  • (19:35) You talked about how the founders of public education had a "systems" approach versus our false metaphor of the industrial approach. Can we still apply systems theory today or is that model of schooling just completely--because of digital media--no longer apply to how we think about schools?
  • (21:12) When we look at when we study kids in digital spaces or out of school (or "informal learning environments" as you called them), I always think back to [...] Grandmasters in chess. There are so few students that actual experts in digital media spaces. Do we have something to learn by looking at just the experts in digital media spaces?
  • (22:52) It's one thing for a teacher to say "If a kid is doing something or has an interest out of school that relates to our curriculum, then it's relevant. But if it does not, then it's irrelevant. I am a school teacher and they are my pupils," and that sets the boundary. I'm saying we need to burst through that boundary.
  • (25:15) I think learning how to use the tools is trivial if [youth] are given permission. There's just a collision between expectations of school and students/pupils, and the way a lot of young people live their lives as learners.
  • (26:32) I think that one of the constraining factors is [...] what we think about the school's job in society. And what citizens and parents and school boards, and especially politicians: their conception of the school sets boundaries.
  • (28:39) We've had a lot of discussion in K-12 [...] about how we adequately prepare kids. We've felt that the push is coming from the job force. Careers are going to demand this different sort of skill set. So it's interesting that politicians are calling for more of the same [...] but our job to adequately prepare students doesn't lie within more of the same.
  • (34:49) When we're talking about what kind of curricular decisions teachers need to make, [...] we have to focus in on [...] new kinds of social practices and dispositions that favor students. We have to come up with curriculum [where] the whole goal is to build those kinds of learners.
  • (37:26) What are the practices that we do in the classroom that we think are going to help bring about this change that we're talking about?
  • (48:08) I hear a lot of complaints from K-12 teachers: if [critical use of digital media] is so important, how come they didn't experience it? [...] Where is all the research-to-practice with digital media and learning across disciplines?
  • (51:05) We should be preparing teachers who can function, not just in the *worst* of our schools, but in the *best* of our schools.

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