There is a wonderful quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt in David Price’s new book ‘Open’. Speaking at a commencement address in 1932, Roosevelt said: “The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
David Price was in Australia last week talking about his new book and the changing world of work, life and learning. We live in a world that is increasingly transparent and open: open source, open learning, open communities. Price makes the point that we cannot control or contain knowledge so it is no longer powerful. What has become powerful are the social connections arising from the co-creation of knowledge locally and globally.
This is not explicitly about technology but how it is enabling new ways of thinking, working and learning. The focus is very much on people and how we are using the tools to connect and reshape communities in a more collaborative way.
‘Open’ fleshes out this new landscape by providing a lens from the outside in rather than the inside out as so often happens. The book presents a sharp synthesis of what is happening in today’s world and importantly, how the education sector can learn from those who are successfully weaving the threads of social, open and informal learning into classrooms such as High Tech High in California and School of Communication Arts 2.0 in the UK. These diverse examples illustrate how being open to new ideas, tools and importantly new ways of learning and teaching are changing the nature of schooling.
Price makes the point that ‘because education has such a deep-seated resistance to change, that what to them (e.g principals of and ) seems logical appears radical to others.” Price goes on to say that governments don’t do radical and so the responsibility to be different and “innovative needs to come from schools themselves, and unless innovative new approaches become more disruptive, the reality is that they will fall further behind the pace of change of ‘open’.”
We are living in uncertain times but to echo Roosevelt – schooling today demands bold, persistent experimentation so that schooling becomes truly open, relevant and meaningful well into the future.