My favorite conference of the year, Educon 2.2, is only a few weeks away, and I wanted to post my “conversation” here to see if there might be some…um…conversation about how to best make the, ah, conversation valuable at the conference. (NOTE: I had originally intended to lead a conversation on “Greening Education” but I’m switching this new topic in.) So if you have any thoughts about the topic or about how to add value to the live session (which will be streamed), please let me know.

Title: The “Decoupling” of Education and School: Where do We Begin?

Description: The next ten years promise to be hugely disruptive for the traditional idea of school as more and more alternative learning platforms are created and expanded. This conversation will focus not on technology but on the larger shifts that will have to occur for schools to evolve into a different role in our society. Driving the discussion will be these quotes from Allan Collins and Richard Halverson’s recent book Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology:

“If educators cannot successfully integrate new technologies into what it means to be a school, then the long identification of schooling with education, developed over the past 150 years, will dissolve into a world where the students with the means and the ability will pursue their learning outside of public school.”

“Schools were prevalent in the era of apprenticeship, and they will be prevalent in whatever new system of education comes into being. But the seeds of a new system are beginning to emerge, and they are already beginning to erode the identification of learning and schooling. As these new technologically driven seeds germinate, education will occur in many different, more adaptive venues, and schools will have a narrower role in learning.”

“Our generation faces a…radically new, design challenge. We are dealing with a mature, stable system of education designed to adapt to gradual change, but ill-suited to embrace radical change. The pace of technological change has outstripped the ability or school systems to adapt essential practices. Schools have fiddled with learning technologies on the margins of the system, in boutique innovations that leave core practices untouched. The emergence of new forms of teaching and learning outside of school threaten the identification of learning with formal schooling forged in the 19th Century.”

What does this new design look like? What are the big questions regarding learning, teaching and schooling that we need to begin to address? How will the roles of elementary schools and high schools begin to evolve? How will we address the divide issues that these opportunities outside of school create? And how do we personally plan for these changes as learners, parents and teachers? If we agree, perhaps we can create a concrete list of starting points for these conversations to begin and continue in schools.