Thursday, July 15, 2010

BLC10 Day 1 Reflection: Shouldn't our schools be more like BLC10?

An idea struck me yesterday. After listening through the keynote by Dr. Mitchel Resnick, Darren Kuropatwa, Jeff Utecht, and Adora Svitak's presentation, I was energized, excited, exhausted, disappointed to be heading home for the night, and wanting more the next day. The buzz in the rooms, the passion of the presenters and the desire to connect, share and collaborate with other teachers was strong...why can't school be more like BLC10? Dr. Resnick gave us a platform Scratch, with wide walls and a high ceiling for our students to create and publish. Darren showed us the importance of design, in delivering our message and our lessons. Jeff inspired us to connect our classroom to the world and to give our students an authentic audience. Adora urged us to listen to the leaders in our classrooms, all 30 of their growing voices.

Why can't our students come to school, hear a great, dynamic & inspiring message. Then hustle off to a breakout session, eagerly listening, taking notes, creating, collaborating, back-channeling and exploring the whole time?

I was disappointed when a session wasn't what I expected or didn't fulfill my needs and goals. Shouldn't our students feel the same way when a class falls short of what it could be, when it doesn't help them meet their goals and needs, when the teacher isn't inspiring?  I wanted to be in two places at once yesterday...shouldn't our students feel that way about the potential and possibilities available to them in school and their classes?

It's 4:45am, and I can't wait to get on the train to Boston at 6:09. Shouldn't our students feel this way about school?

Images: Bob Sprankle, blc10 uploads


  1. Dear Greg,

    The post title is a fair question, and the short answer, of course, is "Yes!"

    If a child could choose the area she wanted to study, an area she's passionate about, and spend the day with her peers just as excited about the topic as she is, then kids would be battering down the doors to get in.

    If the teachers at school were all teachers whose style of presenting could bring stones to life, teachers who have been chosen because over the years their presentations clearly outshone those of their peers, yes, the kids would be bashing through the windows to get in.

    So long as we pursue the goal of preparing children primarily for the workforce, though, our children will not be encouraged to pursue their passions in school, and they will daydream about jumping out, not in, the windows.

    The problem is not lack of edu-tech tools, or enthusiastic teachers, or even passionate students. The problem is our charged task.

    Until learning, and developing the tools for learning, become the raison d'etre for public schools, they will not become BLC10 experiences.

  2. While I agree with your thought, Doyle, about "preparing children primarily for the workforce," I would ask the question, "Which workforce?" Gone are the days when the majority of our students (especially in public schools) would be off to the factory or some other blue-collar type job.

    Now our kids need to be critical thinkers, creators, bridge-builders. Maybe the best way for us to do that is through our excitement and energy and our use of tools that they want to use. If we simply allow ourselves to do things the way they have always been done, then we are preparing our students for jobs that no longer exist. We need to continue to teach our subjects and the standards, but we need to do it in a way that will require more of our students than just rote memorization or sitting patiently in rows watching the "sage on the stage." We must make them active participants in THEIR learning. If we can do that, then we will be preparing them for the workforce of the future, not the one of the past.