It’s often said that good ideas are of no value to anyone if you don’t share them. This is the value that social media offers teachers everywhere. I have the good fortune of being a connected educator and through this blog and sites like Twitter, have my own thinking continually stretched by great ideas and practice.
I recently asked fellow educator, Darcy Moore, to reflect on a bluyonder post that resonated strongly with him. Darcy was kind enough to share his thoughts below:
The ‘modernisation’ of the HSC is not that. It is an opportunity lost and tinkering masquerading as reform. It is clear that pen and paper exams rule education in NSW. Until they are abolished there is no real way forward. No one should have any illusion that ‘regurgitating on paper’ should be replaced by typing fast on a computer; the entire assessment and reporting system needs to be re-envisaged. This “backward-mapping” of our curriculum is urgent and it will start with one decree from the education minister: “pen and paper exams in NSW are no more”.
Australian principals and teachers have a vast number of syllabus and policy documents to implement in the course of the hour, day, week and year. Legislation compels the grading of all students from A-E and the release of archaic semester reports. None of this is helping. It is a hindrance. The managerial and corporatist obsession with frameworks, measurement and documentation are creating dystopian conditions in schools and preventing the real work of creating conditions where learning can flourish that are so desperately needed.
The Hawke-Keating governments addressed globalisation by opening the economy and modernising Australia. Currently, the digitisation of society is providing opportunities and challenges that are not being addressed by our education system or government with any strategy that makes sense. This must change. Genuine educational reform has never been more urgent. Rather than looking back to 20th century notions of how learning should be managed (that reflect the fast-food industry more than education in a contemporary democracy) we need to plan with the future in mind.
As social media continues to mature and more educators begin to speak out, it will become a more powerful tool for change. Many educators still see social media as a fad or are suspicious of engaging for a range of reasons. Security and trust are high on the reasons why this is so. Like any disruptive innovation, social media demands us to think and do differently. It requires us to establish new norms and as Darcy points out above, provides opportunities that no-one seems to be addressing with any common sense strategies.
The more educators speak up, the more we build a critical mass towards transform schooling from the ground up.