Although public policy may not be able to determine the spread of Internet technology to students, it can and should channel this inherently disruptive force into a transformative one for the institution of public education.
Charles Taylor Kerchner
Charles Kerchner is a research professor currently studying institutional change in public education. He and his colleagues have spent much of the last five years examining efforts to reform the Los Angeles Unified School District, and in their minds what is happening in Los Angeles is an apt case example for changes taking place in the entire institution of public education.
Most education reforms start with the premise that adults need to work harder so students will learn more. But ultimately, maybe quickly, that premise is self-defeating. Regardless of the pedagogy used, who governs the school, or how long teachers toil, students are the real workers in the system. Building around that reality is one of the five key elements to bring about Learning 2.0, the next full-scale version of public education.
The words “remix” and “mashup” entered the vocabulary as descriptors of life in the digital age. They are also key to what I am calling Learning 2.0, the next full-scale version of public education.
Two of the gurus of the Internet age have written a charming, compelling, and ultimately romantic book about what learning could be.
In the opening pages of A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown lay out the dimensions of “arc of life” learning “which comprises the activities in our daily lives that keeps learning, growing, and exploring” (p. 18). (The book is self-published and available exclusively at Amazon.com.)
For the first time since the eclipse of the LEARN reforms at the turn of the millennium, Los Angeles has hosted a broad scale education summit designed to bring the city together around support for public education. “There had been a lot of what I call ‘silo’ conversations. We needed to make sure the whole community was here,” said Elise Buik, president of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, which organized the program.