Sunday, December 31, 2006

Reflections on reading...

One of the greatest advantages to blogging and reading what others are writing about is that I've found out about a number of books that I might not have known about or paid attention to otherwise. This is how I found out about Wikinomics by Don Tapscott. I thought it was being released later in December but just happened to see it on the shelf one day in Barnes and Noble and picked it up to start reading during the holiday break from school.

In Chapter 1, the principles of Wikinomics are discussed---the first one being openness or transparency. This took me back to when I first began to teach 18 years ago - back in the days when there were no standards, state assessments or even a well defined curriculum. The teacher's manual and the guidance of veteran teachers were what drove my teaching early on. "Close the door and teach" was the norm and there weren't very many conversations about professional practice. We were isolationists I suppose - we had our textbooks, our worksheets, and our captive audience. 18 years later we have standards, state assessments and curriculum documents to guide our teaching - how many of our teachers are still isolated in their teaching practices and how many are transparent or open to discussing, examining and changing their teaching?

In the Introduction, Tapscott notes, "Leaders must think differently about how to compete and be profitable, and embrace a new art and science of collaboration we call wikinomics." To bring that thought into the realm of education, I would amend that to say: "Teachers must think differently about how to help students learn to learn and embrace a new art and science of education." Our tools demand it, our world demands it and our students demand it for their own future success.

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