What’s Changed? Recap of 200 Shifting Conversations

In today’s episode, Will and Bruce reflect on six of their two hundred Shifting Conversations posts that they have written over the last three years. Some things have changed, and some have not.

Often times, educators feel powerless to change their current conditions in ways that deeply impact learning. That was the focus of this post, Are You Powerless?, but Will reiterated in the conversation that we can all start with our personal practice. We can all work to make sure our personal practices match our personal beliefs about learning, and in that, there is power.

Bruce really believes that people are starting to get beyond shiny objects syndrome. People are starting to ask what extent technology impacts learning, and for that he is relieved. Back when he wrote Road to Nowhere, schools were spending millions of dollars on devices, but that money was not changing practices. There is hope.

The technology underwhelm is discussed in Everything You Think is Disruptive Isn’t. Often people get really excited about emerging technologies, but the technology has very little impact. If we focus on learning and keep the focus on learning, that is when we may start to feel the change.

Beyond Better was a conversation about making change in incremental shifts or by fundamentally changing. Will again emphasized that the world is not changing incrementally, but unfortunately schools are. We need to focus on aligning our beliefs with our practice, and that will require a fundamental shift. Getting a little bit better is not sufficient.

The shifting conversation that is likely the most provocative is What We Know Isn’t What We Do. Will and Bruce even suggest that there is some level of educational malpractice and negligence in situations where we clearly know what is best for our learners and we don’t do it. It feels a little uncomfortable to speak in terms of negligence, but as a profession, we must think about it deeply in order to do what is best for our students.

The Mystery of Pedagogy conversation simply begs us to question, “Are we outdated?” And yes, there is a real chance that we are.

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Will Richardson

Co-founder of Modernlearners.com and Change School. Author, speaker, instigator, surfcaster, husband, and father to two amazing young adults.

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