Friday, December 28, 2012

The short and long now of education innovation...

flickr image via return the sun

Now is a curious word. For something to be happening now, now has to have a length. Whether a fleeting instance like a millisecond, a minute, day, week or longer, now has to have some degree of length so something has time to happen in the now. I think of now as being short or long. Each day I spend at school, when compartmentalized as a block of time where things happen quite quickly, is to me a fairly short now. I would consider what might be accomplished in an entire school year in a longer now context, and something like the continuum of technology integration in schools a very long now process. I think this short and long now perspective is a big factor relative to innovation in education.

My west coast Twitter colleague, Jamie Billingham (@jamiebillingham) put out a very interesting post recently on the Thought Stream blog. Representing feedback from the entire Thought Stream team, Jamie wrote about what they at Thought Stream feel 2013 and beyond will look like in the education innovation context. Jamie made some thought-provoking predictions in her post about a broad range of initiatives that are already in play in the short now, and that are certainly worth extending into the long now education reform context.

Why Empathy?

 Empathy Symbol image retrieved from http://www.empathysymbol.com/


This is a guest post by Larry Hartel, my principal at Glendale Sciences and Technology School. Click here to read it where it was originally posted at Empathy ReBoot, one of our school blogs.

Why Empathy?

Good question. Undoubtedly there are those who believe a successful inclusive school is one that tries to accommodate kids who don't really fit the mold of a 'regular' classroom. Perhaps they would view inclusion as a set of strategies enabling the rest of us to tolerate their presence in our classrooms. They may even go so far as to say they accept these kids. At Glendale we're not those people. Tolerating kids who are different isn't good enough for us. As we design a cultural shift toward full and ubiquitous inclusion at Glendale School, we're not even comfortable saying we've accepted the kids who are different from the rest. For our school to be truly "inclusive," it must be one that celebrates difference.

We are on a journey to learn how to celebrate the diversity of students we encounter within our school as a cultural reality worthy of celebration; to glare at strengths while only glancing at weakness. To do so, we must understand that inclusion isn't simply a set of strategies, but rather a reality in the world that schools should be reflecting and influencing. The world is a wonderfully diverse place. We have to reflect this if we are to create authentic and optimized learning environments for ALL students.
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