For a K-12 school district: some ideas on going 2.0

In the event that a K-12 district administrator were to ask me about moving education into the 21st century, I’d suggest the following:

*Before anything the district needs to decide on and roll-out a district-wide platform that is flexible, free, and easy to use. Where there competing applications are, so is confusion. With an easy system everyone is using, there can be almost instant adaptation. Whether a social network (w/blogs and wikis built in) like moodle or ning, or a one-stop shop of networked applications like google apps, there should be a common work platform for all. When people can cooperatively communicate, powerful social movements are possible. Look at the renaissance after the printing press got going. Look at what cell phones are doing in Asia in the last ten years.

*once you have that common ground between grade levels, departments, and services, the district can powerfully harness efforts from across its buildings. Collaborating around a central vision in an open-source environment, educators could super-charge the curriculum. For instance, when the district’s calendar and archive functions are successfully integrated, every support staff member, administrator, board member, and teacher can literally be on the same page. Gathered together in a 24/7 forum providing instant communication, curriculum developers would be able to customize a curriculum that would work best for all of our students.

* students on this same page = some serious issues for “old-school” administrators. But students must have the page, too. Would we keep books, in all their crude truth forms, from any student? Our district is supposed to be centered on the children’s learning, right? So let a thousand blogs bloom! We can trust the teachers to tend to the gardens–that’s what they’re there for–as growth guides/coaches…

* the new web-based applications could allow educators unprecedented service for the individualization of learning for students with IEPs and special needs. There are special ed people doing special things (esp. in Australia and New Zealand) with special students through 2.0 tools.

*a common footing would allow no alarming gaps or discontinuities to develop between middle and high school curricula. Any inefficiencies would be discussed and resolved in the process of vertical collaboration over best practices for optimal student learning. Working in the common digital workplace, district personnel would enjoy efficiencies that all cooperative effort brings. Educators working together have power, and will think and act better than any number of individual educators can.

*a professional development tied in with district goals could continuously be going on in an asynchronous, virtual workspace. PD that individuals are not able to take advantage of in real time (after all, one can only be in one workshop at In-service days), the “platform in the cloud” the district has allows it to capture the professional development for perpetual use. The district can provide and expect use of all sorts of continuing education for its staff.

*since movement toward distance learning is accelerating, and since the district already has a viable, proven video production program, a new market is open to our district. Video production students will learn as they package our district’s valuable cultural content–its instruction. Netcasting educational programming (as MIT, Stanford, and Yale are doing) gives the education we are proud of a world-wide audienceand our students real-world work experience at the same time.

I’m sure there are dozens more suggestions, but this will have to do. Good night!

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One response to “For a K-12 school district: some ideas on going 2.0”

  1. from C. Cahill, Chicago, Illinois1. How does this improve the formation of souls?2. What educational functions will be or should be crowded out by wikiness in the scarce minutes of a school day?3. Is wikiness equally appropriate for all grade levels?


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