Ever read something, a book, a sentence, a phrase, a passage….that you CANNOT get out of your head. Well Different Schools for a Different World by Scott McLeod and Dean Shareski just hammered my thinking. Their work is not a long read. It’s about 60 pages. Don’t let that fool you. My favorite college professor, Dr. Ruth Slonim, once said, “Good writing is not when there’s nothing more to add, rather when there’s nothing more to be taken away.” This book is lean and dead on point. A literal wake up call.
The authors share, “Our six arguments for making schools different are based on the following observations, each of which corresponds to the first six chapters.
1. Our information landscape is becoming incredibly complex and students need the skills to navigate it effectively.
2. Automation and global hyper-competition increasingly define the economy that our graduates are entering.
3. The role of teachers as exclusive purveyors of information is obsolete.
4. The tasks we ask students to perform are often undemanding and tedious, leading to boredom and a lack of critical thinking.
5. Schools are doing too little to create a culture of educational innovation that can respond to evolving student needs.
6. The digital tools students will require for future success are too often unavailable to traditionally disadvantaged groups.”
Whoa. Number 3. Let that nugget sink in for a minute. Stark and absolutely true. To try to convince oneself otherwise is folly. Kids with devices literally carry the sum of all human knowledge in their pockets or backpacks.
My favorite quote from the book is in the title of this blog post.
“School is no longer constrained to how far
the bus can travel in the morning.
Yep. So as our district considers our school facilities, we are also considering how we move our programs and learning forward. This book is a map.
Thank you gentlemen.