Fear of the unknown

There are educators and school leaders who are paralysed by fear of a web 2.0 schooling experience, and others like Angus King, ex-governor of Maine who recognise that to do nothing is a wasted opportunity.

Angus was one of the first ‘leaders’ to make the connection by realising schooling had to change if students were going to be skilled for life and work in a knowledge economy. He set about developing a strategic plan to implement a 1:1 laptop program in Maine in 2002.

At the time, he was quoted in Wired Magazine saying “I think we’re going to demonstrate the power of one-to-one computer access that’s going to transform education.”

The large-scale roll out of computers over four years was a clever way of gaining change-momentum by not only illustrating the need for schools to ‘keep up’ with technological change but ensuring the wider community were committed. At the heart of the strategy was a clear recognition that the schooling experience for every child had to change

Angus was in Parramatta this week sharing his experiences of leading change with many of our leaders and teachers.

6 thoughts on “Fear of the unknown

  1. Mate this guy needs a medal. Its one thing to have an idea as well all know, but to follow through to research, and then implementation and then further advancement. Good stuff. Next time you bring down these guys you need to let us share the costs and send him across the ditch or we can come to you. Powerful man, powerful people and all in paramatta, shame about them eels.

  2. I am comforted to know that when you try to implement change most people are automatically opposed to the change – mainly through fear of the unkown. Its good to hear from people who have resisted the temptation to turn back in the face of such scrutiny and persist with their vision. I still believe that the easy part is giving the kids the laptops. The hard part is linking the curriculum, appropriate use, authentic experiences and lifelong learning into the classroom, and then empowering all stakeholders to see the value in this educational reform. Actually, maybe it is not that hard?

  3. Just giving kids a laptop is not what real learning is about. It’s like giving fish to a hungry man! As teachers we need to lead our students to understand that they have the vehicle that allows them more than ever to participate in culture, contribute their ideas, views, information. The web allows them not just to publish but to share and connect, to collaborate and when the conditions are right, to create, together. That is why the web is a platform for mass creativity and innovation. “Teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry, teach students how to use the Web and they can learn forever!” These ideas are explored in Charles Leadbeater’s latest book ‘We Think’

  4. I took our Principal and Deputy to this event.
    Angus had confirmed for us that we are moving in the right direction. I suppose we need to stand firm and surround ourselves with people who think like this man.
    Thank you to whoever invited Angus King to Australia ( and I hope he finally found his Luggage)

  5. Giving kids laptops as a 1 to 1 initiative just places more pressure on the need to change digital taxonomies in the curriculum, which is not impossible, but requires people in the position of ‘influence’ to understand why it’s important and be part of the global discourse surrounding it. 1 to 1 adds to the fundamental issues that cartesian teaching methods are failing to engage students – with or without a laptop – or sufficient infrastructure and support to make it a viable learning tool.

  6. Wonderful to see a leader focussing on student improvement. I have been at a few conferences lately where students do not seem to enter into the discussion. Success is almost guaranteed when the compass is pointed in the direction of the student not the tool.

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