elearnspace › It’s New! It’s New! › George Siemens

It is my main critique with the emotional-feel-good message of Ken Robinson’s focus on creativity. First, we need to get over the view that our generation is astonishingly unique. Hasn’t every generation faced new technologies to solve problems not foreseen? The present moment arrogance that invades much of school reform thinking is frustrating. And, I might as well add, the pendulum-thinking mindset that is evident in Robinson’s view is damaging in the long term. If a view of educational reform is defined by the current reality that it is reacting against, rather than a holistic model of what it will produce in the future, then we’re playing a game of short-term gains, planting in our revolution the seeds for the next revolution that will push back against gains that we make now.

Developing capacity for complexity. Complexity is the DNA of society. Whenever multiple agents interact, outcomes are uncertain. Failure to account for complexity in organizational design, teacher preparation, and business planning is a short path to frustration. Yes, it would be nice if the world was complicated – like a puzzle where every piece has a right place. But it’s not. It’s complex – like a weather system where changes in one aspect of the system cascades and influences the entire system, often in unpredictable ways. Unfortunately, complexity is not built into the educational system. We seek “general right answers” rather than “contextual right answers”.

The pendulum-thinking issue has been on my mind, but I have not been able to express it as well as George does here. It reminds me of the dichotomized digital native vs digital immigrant issue which can also be counter-productive.

I also wonder how many ‘rules’ and ‘expectations’ are created because of present moment arrogance? Are filters our equivalent of book burnings? Are our subject blocks created by a parochial curriculum? Are typing skills equivalent to quill pen skills of the past? How is our arrogance counter-revolutionary?

In the second section, I love the puzzle vs weather system metaphor! Using a metaphor exemplifies contextual complexity!