Steve Hargadon - Changing Education By Hacking At the Roots, Not the Branches

An open chat on why the message of educational change cannot center on one particular group trying to convince another that *their* education ideas are the best.

About The Speaker(s)

Steve Hargadon is director of the Web 2.0 Labs, host of the Future of Education interview series, chair of the Learning 2.0 Conference and the Social Learning Summit, and co-chair the annual Global Education and Library 2.0 worldwide conferences. He has pioneered both the use of social networking in education (creating the now 70,000 member Classroom 2.0 social network in 2007) and the massive peer-to-peer professional development of his virtual conferences. He has supported and encouraged the development of thousands of other education networks and events, particularly for professional development. He blogs at stevehargadon.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @SteveHargadon.

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Questions Asked/Key Comments Made

  • (08:37) If we really care about the ways in which the web has reopened our eyes to how learning is social, and how learning can and should be self-directed, then how do we think about "change" if we move away from a question of policy change to this idea of a social movement?
  • (10:41) [On ed tech trends in 2012] The ways in which we're using all of these tools to "do things to students," and in very few cases are we allowing those tools to uncover [the students'] own curiosity, to foster their own sense of agency and inquiry.
  • (12:30) What the MOOCs seem to lack so far is the peer learning aspect of it, of encouraging the people who are learning to use the technology to communicate and cooperate and collaborate with each other.
  • (14:59) I think our schools all have unique identities and that we have to be to recognize that trying to replicate and drive down standardization of curriculum, of assessment, of instruction really sets up a situation where we lose that capability to understand that schools are different and have different needs.
  • (20:30) The majority of education reform talk seems to take place strictly between adults. What could adults do to encourage the inclusion (and amplification) of the student voice in this discussion?
    • (24:45) Are we asking students to have voice in an existing or current system that we're trying to tweak to improve, or is this part of an awkward power struggle? We're watching kids do all kinds of incredible learning on their own...to use the phrase "student voice" brings them back into our organization in which we have power.
  • (27:50) Putting my futurist hat on...I think what's coming down the pike and what we're seeing now is an awful lot of peer learning happening online around a lot of different things. I'm trying to teach myself electronics, and the best teachers are 15-20 years old out there.
  • (31:03) Kids need opportunity to pursue things that they want to pursue in the way they want to pursue them, and you can't do that if you limit kids' capability to have choice...How do we open up the learning to the kids and not have it be something that is owned and directed by the teachers?
  • (36:28) Learning should not be a conversation that only takes place within the context of 'the organization'...how do you help people have these conversations so that they're making those decisions in their own schools and their own communities?
    • (37:07) What are some of the ways we--as parents, as mentors, as practitioners--can help shift our various networks from conversations about "schooling" to conversations about "learning"?
  • (39:13) The current human cry over limited budgets for schools is also a great opportunity to foster out-of-school learning culture.
  • (42:01) This is the great power of the web right now. You can decide that you are interested in dinosaurs. And it's not just a matter of going to books, of going to museums but you can tap into online communities of experts.
  • (43:47) How do we have that conversation with parents about enabling their children's learning at home?
  • (47:56) To what degree, if we candidly look at schooling, would we recognize it as a cultural ritual versus learning? Is there an inherent danger in the ritualization that takes places, that there's an expectation of roles and how we participate?
  • (53:07) For teachers, particularly in this current political climate, I think bucking the system--the stakes seem very high when you challenge the system.
  • (55:50) If we believe that mistakes are opportunities to learn , if mistakes are at the heart of learning, then we we need to be willing to make them ourselves (or at least put ourselves in a position where we might).
  • (58:02) We've got to do something to take back the learning spaces...Because, until something changes that gives teachers the sense that they don't have to fear...I feel like that is at the core of a lot of the critical issues we have right now.

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