The 'mass production line' is a great analogy to describe the traditional school system. Students as the raw material and educators as the cogs in the machine working for a bureaucracy. For too long, many schools and universities have operated like this: farms and factories that produce clones of a pre-determined specification, fit for society.

It is refreshing to consider an educational system that is not bound by four walls. Learning can happen by anyone about anything, anywhere and anytime. On the same token, our learners must become the producers, not simply institutionalised consumers of knowledge. I believe, that we as educators, must facilitate opportunities for our learners to connect, communicate and collaborate to extend their cognitive potential, virtually speaking. Technology is the perfect catalyst to realise this potential.

Will we ever deconstruct the traditional role of schools and universities as physical entities, bound by systems, structures and controlling mechanisms? What are your thoughts?

Views: 34

Comment by Peggy Soong Yaplee on July 14, 2007 at 12:47pm
Chad,
I think as educators we have no choice but to change our teaching practices because we will be left in the dust by our students. As a digital immigrant I found that I am always one step ahead of most of my students in terms of technology and there are many teachers who have to rely on students to help them with technology now. If we want our world to be the global society we envision, we must as educators help our students learn how to work in this kind of society. Therefore we must change the way we do business in the classroom and the administrators who run us will be forced by to abide by this.
What do you think?
Peggy
Comment by Tom Hemingway on July 15, 2007 at 7:22am
Hi Chad! Thanks for adding me as a friend. Your 'descschooling' post certainly caught my eye, because Illich is a favorite author of mine. I've blogged a few times about the deschooling idea myself, for example here and here

Even though it's a long uphill climb, I'm gratified to see so many people raising awareness about the distinctions between education and learning.
Comment by Lennart on September 23, 2007 at 7:56am
Hi Chad! Glad you added me as a friend. Hope we will have some collaboration in the near future. I hope school will find that it is an institution that have to focus more on learning than on education.
As a teacher at upper secondary high-school (college) in Sweden it is frustrating to see my pupils working with there assignments just to prove they are worth a high grade insted of learning. They have a lot of capacity and creativity that could be in function if the curriculum would be more authentic to the real-world. The problem today is that school is haveing very little transfer of knowledge to there lives outside of school
Comment by Alessandro Allegri on April 11, 2008 at 8:38am
Hi Chad. Thanks for adding me and for asking this interesting question.
Personally, talking OECD, I am not too much into deschooling. I am more a reschooling guy. I mean, IMHO the physical aspect of schools has a value, as a real place, with real books, real people, where you have to deal with real problems (lack of chalk? end of toner? teacher missing?...) and interact in real time.
In my opinion there is some learning that can take place only in such environments as schools. And fond as I can be of technologies, I wouldn't trade the classroom experience, the (call me romantic, if you will) personal/group face to face relationship happening in a real room, for any amount of it.
What I think is going to happen is a blended model of schools with presence and network teaching-learning will interact, with more or less stress given to one or the other according to the age, maturity, skills and so on, of teachers and students.
At any rate, what teachers are expected to do is, I believe and agree with Sol and Peggy, hi, to drive the change since we are the ones aware of it. Who knows, maybe once we've helped to change our schools we find out we can do without them altogether (although I am quite skeptical about this!).
Comment by Dr.Tamishra Swain on April 13, 2008 at 10:56pm
Well, de-schooling debate is ageold. Time to time protagonists come forward and put their views. What Mr. Outten says our schooling and university is structured like a machine to produce or to train the learners in a pre-determined fashion. To some extent he is right that this tradition should be deconstructed be free from monotonous and archtypal role.

But in practice the schooling gives the learners an environment, may be some of the environmernts could be given ever to a child. The learners learn from the system and time comes when they implement not only what they learnt form the structure and the controlled mechanism but they act beyond the systems also. In simple even if we free the learners and make them available a system-free envionment eventually that so called system-free education will become system-bound.

Thanks for going through
Tamishra

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