(Note: Your participation is requested below…)

So it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get to this reflection on the conversation I led at Educon. I hope those in attendance and online feel as I do that it was a pretty compelling session, and I like the fact that we had a tangible albeit undeveloped takeaway. I’m hoping maybe we can dive more deeply into it here.

Just as a reminder, here’s a link to the session description. We had about 100 people in the room and another 40 or so online grappling with the question “What are the ‘big’ conversations that schools should be having in relation to the ‘tectonic’ shifts that are occuring with social learning online?” After some small and large group discussion, here is the list we came up with in no particular order:

  • What does an educated person look like today?
  • What are the essential practices of teachers in a system where students are learning outside of school?
  • If some percentage of schooling is socialization and relationship building, how would that happen outside of school?
  • How are we going to shift the expectations for schools from all of our constituents?
  • How do we change policy to support more flexible time and place learning?
  • How does our thinking of the physical space change?How do we support the changing role of teacher?
  • What is the role of the teacher?Do we really need a physical space?
  • How do K-12 and higher ed have this conversation about change together?
  • What is the purpose of school?How do we teach kids ethics and citizenship?
  • How do we continue to make school available to everyone?
  • Is school a resource or it something we do?
  • How do we adapt our curriculum to the technologies that kids are already using?
  • How do we ensure that every child has access to learning opportunities outside of school?
  • How do we make school fun?
  • What should be compulsory about school?
  • How do we make sure that the weakest forms of traditional schooling don’t get amplified by technology?
  • How do we avoid the social justice implications of an elitist model of education?
  • How do we ensure those without privilege have equal access to quality education and opportunity?
  • How do we become better equipped, both as individuals and as systems, to deal with change?
  • What is preventing us from being adaptable to change?
  • How do we rethink the reallocation of resources to support individualized instruction?
  • We will be creating a new class of marginalized people with these shifts?
  • What is the essential learning that schools impart to students?
  • How do public schools prove that they are commtted to education all children?
  • What risks are we willing to accept?
  • What is our obligation to collaborate with other systems going through similar changes?
  • How do we measure or assess the effectiveness of individualized self-directed learning outside of school?
  • How do you validate or evaluate informal learning?
  • How do we help students discover their passions?
  • Who is going to pay for equity of access to these environments?
  • How can we use our best resources more effectively for our students?

May just be me, but that’s a pretty impressive list. And pretty daunting in some respects. I think many of these are worth delving into further, and I’m hoping you might be willing to help narrow these down to the “top 10″ of these and then start a conversation on each one of them through a series of blog posts.

Keep the conversation going…Join in!

I’ve added all of these to a Google form where you can check off the 10 that you think might be most worth diving into. (I would embed it, but it’s not rendering very well in the blog.) If we could get a bunch of people to chime in over the next couple of days, then perhaps we could really crowdsource some responses. Heck, maybe we can even collectively write a book around these ideas that might work as a guide to starting these conversations in schools. Dream big.)

Anyone game?