Welcome to School of Life. This first stab at a digital dialogue will hopefully grow into a space and place where people can come together to share ideas and information about how life and school need to be brought together in ways that eliminate distance, barriers, obstacles, obstructions, paranoia, and just about any other excuse you can manufacture to perpetuate Old School thinking. In this place, Old School thinking is when convention wins out over the search for best practice. 'Thinking managers' are welcome to chime in, but hopefully most of the conversation will revolve around practices that appear to be changing our traditional view of what schools are and how they are 'supposed to work'. If you believe you have discovered a shape shifting learning methodology, this is the place to talk about it.
The approach taken here will be one of looking at how school can, and should, be better integrated with the world around us. There has been plenty of ink spilled on the shortcomings and inefficiencies of current general education models so we won't spend a great deal of time adding to the word stock already corralled (I guess I'm saying I'll be working hard at not letting this space degenerate into a 'misery loves company' forum). Rather, School of Life will pose many questions around a simple belief that there is a need for school, and there is a need for relevancy, so setting the conditions where everything in and beyond school once again makes sense, will be the primary goal.
Before going too much further, an About Me moment is probably appropriate. My name is Dean, I'm an educator, consultant, advocate, coach and now nascent blogger who cares deeply about how education works. In 25 years I've had many opportunities to try and make a difference in the lives of learners, and believe that for the most part I have done well. I don't claim to have gathered all of the answers, but I do have a well developed sense of what learning is. I am also of the opinion that in order for people in school today to realize any value from their efforts, there will be required some near galactic changes in how school prepares students for the future they face. The starting or launch point is removing the idea that school should remain (literally and figuratively) within the physical confines of the school. In a world where more and more of the connections we make are via devices, this concept of linking ideas in the physical sense will be a recurring theme. Before anyone assumes by that statement that I'm a technology hater, or one of those people who believe that learning is first and foremost a sensory experience, stop! I compute like everyone else, go mobile like everyone else, get out and play (occasionally) like everyone else. In a sense I feel like I'm in the role of every learner here with one exception...I place a heavy value on experience, significant experience to be exact, and how critical significance to the learner must be front of mind at all times.
Over the coming weeks I hope to start to expand on the idea that school can once again make sense because what is happening is important. If you are a learner, a teacher, a parent, a mentor, an interested bystander, or like me you have a little time on your hands and you'd like to join the conversation...please do! I make no promises that every post will shake the foundations of education (this one certainly didn't) but I can say that beyond introductions there will be information shared that will be influential, substantial, and hopefully helpful.