Enjoy the short video above- it is very much worth the six minutes.

It is the time of year when many are looking ahead to opening of the school year faculty and departmental meetings, so it is a good time to start sharing valuable short videos which can be used for inspiration and illumination at these meetings.   This six minute video is a great candidate (and I intend to share a list soon); it is a very current (ISTE 2012) talk in which author and provocateur Will Richardson lays out his challenge to us: Bold Ideas for Change in Education.   (Another alternative would be Will’s TEDx talk.)

Consider the opportunities: ask educators in groups to identify their bold ideas first, and compare; ask them to watch and discuss which bold ideas make sense and how might they apply them, which don’t and why not, and what original ideas do they have.

From Lisa Nielsen’s blog I’ve copied at bottom of this post the list of 19 bold ideas for easy reference.

A few comments:

1.  Of course, I am delighted to see Will’s very first “bold idea;”  I think it is so important to put a focal point on assessment as a huge lever to influence, via backwards design, everything else that happens, and at St. Gregory we worked hard to develop and advance methods for ‘open network assessments.’  

(Some may recall that Will wrote about his enthusiasm for this kind of testing in a post which cited our work at St. Gregory as an influence; the post begins  “I just recently ran across Jonathan Martin’s posts regarding the  ‘Open Internet’ tests that he’s piloting with some teachers at St. Gregory School in Arizona, and I’m just loving the thinking.”)   [For a set of posts and resources about our open computer/open network testing at St. Gregory, click here: 21k12blog.net/oct]

2.   Numbers 2 and 15 are excellent: among the most important advances we can make is if we start working now to rethink how we choose, curate, and create our textbooks, using open source, free resources, using wikis, using a panoply of techniques like this to crack open the expensive hardcover textbook monolith that stifles and costs too much.

3.  Numbers 7, 8, and 9 sing to me: Our own learning as adults, and our sharing of what we are learning and what we are teaching, and committing ourselves to a journey of discovery alongside our students, are attitude adjustments that will make a huge difference.

4.  Numbers 3 and 5 goes with much of the above: let’s have students publish and post and share and contribute, to truly participate in the world.   As we do, we help our students strengthen their own google identities and enhance their future resumes; we also give them a greater sense of investment and ownership in their work.

5.  What would I add?  This list is extremely resonant with my thoughts, and it is hard to see strong differentiation.   But my list might have included:

a. something along the lines of Build things from scratch, in the spirit of my (former) school’s Fab-Lab like Innovation studio class and the similar, Maker’s Faire inspired, programs around the country;

b. Facilitate Problem-Finding, inviting students to reflect on their own situations and environments and thoughtfully identify incongruities before working toward local and immediate problem-solving (and problem-grappling, as Peter Gow, channeling Sizer, recommends); and

c. Assess What Matters: Schools everywhere are hung up on data of student achievement, and that isn’t going to go away as much as we might wish for it, but we can at least balance the portfolio with a broader array of measurement techniques, and communicate better our Bold schooling priorities and emphases by the date we report.

From Lisa Nielsen’s blog, Will Richardson’s 19 Bold Ideas.

  1. Forget open book / phone tests.
    Let’s have open network assessments where students can use the tools they own and love for learning. School should not be a place where we force kids to unplug and disconnect from the world.
  2. Stop wasting money on textbooks.
    Make your own texts with things like wikis.
  3. Google yourself
    If we’re not empowering ourselves and our students to be Google well, we’re not doing a good job.
  4. Flip the power structure from adults to learners
    Empower students with the tools and resources they need to go where they want to go and explore and develop their interests and passions.
  5. Don’t do work for the classroom
    Support learners in doing work that is worthy of, can exist in, and can change the world.
  6. Stop telling kids to do their own work
    That’s not reality any longer.  Support them in collaborating, interacting, and cooperating with others.
  7. Learn first. Teach second.
    We must come into our classrooms knowing that we are learners first. If we think we are teachers first, we are not giving our students the powerful learning models they’ll need to be successful.
  8. No more how-to workshops
    Educators should know how to find out how to on their own. When we come together it should be to talk about how we are doing.
  9. Share everything
    The best work of you and your students should be shared online. This will help us all get better.
  10. Ask questions you don’t know the answer to
    The learning of high stakes tests with predetermined answers is not as powerful as the learning that comes from finding our own new and unique answers.
  11. Believe that you want to be found by strangers on the internet
    If you think kids aren’t going to interact with strangers on the internet, you’re wrong. Let’s embrace that and support kids in being smart when doing so and learning a lot about the minds they are meeting.
  12. Rethink the role of the teacher
    We should not be doing the same work that 20th century teachers did. Consider how technology can and should change our roles.
  13. Toss the resume
    No one cares about your resume anymore. The internet is the new resume. What will people find when they look at who you are online? That is what you should be focusing on.
  14. Go beyond Google to learn
    Build your personal learning network and learn with and from the people you know via places like Twitter and Facebook.
  15. Go free and open source
    We have a budget crises, yet schools are wasting millions on things that are offered for free.
  16. Create an UnCommon Core
    Don’t ask how you will meet the common core, empower kids to think about how they will change the world.
  17. Stop delivering the curriculum
    This is no longer necessary.  Information can be accessed without a teacher.  Move beyond delivery to discovery.
  18. Be subversive
  19. Stand up and scream
    Tell everyone that education is not about publishers and politicians but rather it’s about what students and parents want and how teachers can best give that to them.