Storming the Educational Bastille
I have my IB ITGS students do a weekly reflection on our class wiki called ‘Your Week with Tech.’ The purpose of this reflection is for students to think about how digital technology has impacted them that week (impacts can be good or bad). They can also reflect on articles related to the course that they read independently. They’ve been reflecting for 5 weeks now and have presented many interesting experiences and thoughts. One of the most provocative came today from an HL student in my grade 11 class. Here is what she said verbatim (I didn’t fix grammar):
“I read an article in China daily, which was very thought provoking for our generation. The article claimed that the future belonged to the people highly educated in the field of IT. This was something we could imagine, but then the interesting point of the article was that the people, who will be most successful are the one combined IT skills with highly developed social skills. First of all I thought about the IB course, which does not fully integrate IT in all subjects. Knowing that IT skills are the key to success in the future it is not acceptable that these skills are more or less neglected. I think the IB course should be made up to date regarding IT and its integration in subjects.”
Wow! Here it is, the scream for change and shift in way we do education, even at the IB level, coming from the mind of a student. Talk about an opportunity for harnessing a real grassroots movement! Imagine a mob of students storming the head of school’s or principal’s office (think of the French mob storming the Bastille; no chopping off heads though!), or protesting to their the 20th century teachers to change to the learning needs of this century, or flooding the IB with emails regarding this issue! If schools can’t listen to the students, then there is a major problem.
What’s the best way to harness this student voice and/or get them to overcome fear and advocate for this needed change? If this could happen successfully, I think the needed shift could happen much sooner. Like multiple horses pulling a stagecoach, a few hundred students advocating for meaningful and compelling technology integration in the context of learning and literacy for this century could be way more powerful then the few dedicated and enlightened teachers trying to do the same.