Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Evolution or revolution?

An interesting debate is taking place on developments in secondary education. Graham Attwell can see the beginning of the end of traditional schooling. He sees the developments at Knowsley as a positive experiment where technology is being used in the way a number of leading learning technologists would like to see online networks and informal learning take over traditional class room based learning. The personal learning environment and the learner are at the centre and in control, with the teacher as a facilitating helper. In the comments area of his blog a reference is being made to Mr Read's blog, clearly a person with local insights who can see the disadvantages of the development. He points out that local realities might not quite justify the level of change and development instigated by the council.

Of course questions should be raised about the strategies being used for change. What works best in the end: rapid change following a clear vision, or a slow process of change that involves most stakeholders in an engaging way? In addition, a large group of learners is part of the Knowlsey experiment and it will not become clear for some time what their future will hold if the experiment fails.

Having been frustrated time and time again in a process of achieving change through evolution, I am quite charmed by the boldness of the revolutionary move in Merseyside. I have to say though that after about 7 years of chipping away at the curriculum from the margin while trying to incorporate technology in a meaningful way, we have achieved major changes that are carried by a large group of stakeholders. I feel that engaging most of the people involved in change will in the long run have a deeper impact than a revolutionary change imposed by outsiders or from above would have had. Time will tell if the Knowlsey development will have a positive outcome for all concerned!

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