Top ten list #8: Ways to transform schools into centers of knowledge production and innovation
27 Jun 2007

Top ten list #8: Ways to transform schools into centers of knowledge production and innovation

Today’s list discusses how to move beyond

27 Jun 2007

ten-days-sm.pngToday’s list discusses how to move beyond the failures of U.S. education and transform our schools, communities, and families into centers of knowledge production and innovation.

  1. Schools of the agricultural and industrial ages produced graduates suitable for their economies and societies. Change is accelerating, and students that are being prepared for old society jobs cannot be expected to succeed in a rapidly evolving socioeconomic environment. Today’s schools must reorient themselves toward producing graduates that will adapt and lead in societies that do not yet exist.
  2. Knowledge is meaning, and meaning is knowledge. A new emphasis on the production of knowledge/meaning in formal education will mean students should not be viewed merely as vessels to into whom knowledge is downloaded, but should be vigorously involved in new knowledge co-creation. A good starting point toward creating new meanings is to bring dialogue and dialogical approaches to education back into the classroom.
  3. No Child Left Behind undercuts the quest for meaning that is part of every intelligent human life. To reverse this damage, the schools must leave behind NCLB and psychometric-centric school cultures behind.
  4. Many new ways of attending formal education are now available in a number of societies. The major implication of this is that families have greater choices in determining blends of educational contexts, and can contribute to the further development of new knowledge-producing contexts
  5. Innovation is derived from the timely and effective use of knowledge. To help produce both knowledge/meaning and innovation, the schools will have to routinely seek out new contexts, problems, and experiences to bring into each classroom.
  6. Schools routinely firewall the Internet. The simplest ways to minimize the losses to imagination and creativity generated by this practice are to stop fighting information and open access to the net; and develop improved ICT tools to help students harness their creative potential.
  7. Generally, families are sources of educational conservatism. Such squeamishness about potential changes of school missions from download education to the production of knowledge/meaning and innovation can be abated by engaging parents in future-oriented storytelling conversations, such as StoryTech.
  8. Schools in America tend to ignore or even denigrate creative, imaginative students. A quick fix for this problem is to remove creative students immediately, and place them in supportive contexts where they can build upon their individual knowledge and begin to innovate immediately.
  9. Production of knowledge/meaning and innovation in the schools can vastly increase the choices available to society. The problem with this is that the choices quickly may quickly become overwhelming. New technologies must be developed and embraced to help support and mediate personal and social decision-making.
  10. To further overcome the problem of “knowledge and innovation overload,” a minority of students may have to partner with adaptive technologies to maintain cognitive competitiveness with their more choice-comfortable peers.
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