Monday, November 15, 2010

An Accident of Geography Won't Save Us
 In Jared Diamond's impressive book Guns, Germs, and Steel the author ascribes the the fall of the Incan empire not to the superiority of the Spanish, but by the accident of geography. The proximity to domesticated animals shared throughout Europe and Asia as well as the shared knowledge and innovation by those people. This is a very simplified explanation of the book. I highly recommend you read the whole thing.

As I was explaining this concept to my class today I realized that this is how classrooms are today. Some classrooms are like the Spanish, of which the Flat Classroom Project is a great example.  These teachers are facilitating the sharing of knowledge and innovation in their classrooms.

Most classrooms are like the Incan empire. They are isolated, not realizing what is outside their classroom. They assume they are the masters of learning using the same techniques that have worked for generations. They do not even know that they are being passed by.

Now that the problem is identified, what is the solution? I think that we must not only expose our classrooms to other classrooms, we must find ways to create learning communities with them. I am not espousing "quick hit" projects where students work together with others for short periods of time. Instead I believe we need to create long term communities that share knowledge and innovation through longer periods of time. We shouldn't rely on an accident of geography to get us where we need to go, we need to reach out and learn from others.

No comments:

Post a Comment