Sometimes it’s hard to pay attention …

… and sometimes, even if you try, you can’t ignore what is right in front of you. Bowden’s poem “The Inner Net” has come across my virtual desk a few times. As he claims, “the problems of our world used to be too big and too distant to know of its widespread existence, but with the internet, our world is small… We can now get crowds around a cause.. connect ignorance to knowledge… donors to non profits… injustices to those who can stop it.”

This, coupled with Graded’s recently refined mission, represents a call to action if I’ve ever heard one. The curriculum review cycle has led to some uncomfortable conversations with colleagues. No one doubts that we have a lot of work in front of us.  As we examine how we can best serve students for actively participating as global citizens I am fascinated by the implications it has on our role as teachers, leaders and more importantly, as partners in learning.

I have fallen in love with a new Bill of Rights, The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in a Digital Age, partly because it was signed by one of my favorite thought leaders, John Seely Brown (author of A New Culture of Learning) and partly because it says out loud what I have had trouble to articulate: “We believe that online learning represents a powerful and potentially awe-inspiring opportunity to make new forms of learning available to all students worldwide… We are aware of how much we don’t know: that we have yet to explore the full pedagogical potential of learning online, of how it can change the ways we teach, the ways we learn, and the ways we connect. And we worry that this moment is fragile…”

The principles of this Bill of Rights echoes the best of what I believe learning within a digital landscape can embody.  It can be an environment that fosters character, nurtures an autonomous learning disposition and empowers people to act. This year especially, Graded has been presented with opportunities to connect with others across the globe through the GIN conference and Innovate2013. We only need to embrace “the learner-centered dialogue around the rights, responsibilities, and possibilities for education in the globally-connected world of the present and beyond.”


Posted on March 23, 2013, in Curriculum, Leadership, Learning Envrionment, Professional Learning, Technology. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Colleen, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on our initiatives at Graded and the Bill of Rights. We are having some exciting conversations around curriculum that is more relevant for today’s student but you are right to point out that these can be uncomfortable at times. As principal I certainly appreciate our community’s willingness to partake in the conversations and be open t making changes that we feel will best serve our students. While the document focuses on online learning much of this can be applied to the new culture of learning that John Seely Brown describes. For example, take out the “online learning environment” and consider that, “teachers no longer need to be sole authority figures but instead should share responsibility with learners at almost every turn.” We are certainly seeing this on a daily basis in PLC’s, curriculum review work, PGSP goal tasks, and conversations around campus. Since we’re pushing the limits of our learning in some cases we can feel a bit of anxiety and uncertainty. I’m looking forward to continuing on this journey with the faculty, students and parents. Thanks again.

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