#999 Teaching to the “Life”

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On my summer reading list is John W. Moravec’s progressive text, Knowmad Society. I started it earlier this month with the intentions of learning more about the innovative void in our current public school educational paradigm but after several hours of reading, I have learned so much more about the societal stagnation we all have at some point identified as the space between mediocrity and greatness.

In the introduction alone, Moravec gives the reader essential reading instructions “Write Your Own Title Here!” Right out of the gate, he demands that each reader customize her/his own reading experience by taking ownership of the text in a literal sense. Having a hard copy, I was able to do just that, and I titled my text ” Leaving Normal”. You see, Knowmad Society charges us with recreating the future of learning (living), work, and how we relate with each other. He defines the Knowmadic knowledge worker as a “creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere.” In many ways, these words mirror what it is to be a 21st Century Learner. I do not intend to minimize Moravec’s text, but the above words provide us with such a concise explanation of what is needed to move our collective intelligence forward.

Let us take some time to vet out the key words in the above charge for Knowmadic workers:

  • Creative
  • Imaginative 
  • Innovative 
  • Anybody
  • Anytime
  • Anywhere

CreativeIn our schools today, are we truly fostering creativity? With the robust reforms in public education, it is quite difficult to move past compliance and into the world of creativity. This is not only a tall task for students but it is equally as daunting a challenge for educators. As each day passes, it takes more and more effort for teachers and students to move into the domain of creating new knowledge.

Imaginative Perhaps, the sister of creativity, imagination is often what happens in the unstructured time and space that is often absent in the life of public school teachers and students. Knowmad Society points to giving educators and students an opportunity to engage in edcamp style human capital experiences designed to allow 20% (Daniel Pink’s Drive) of work/school time to be spent on self-exploration projects based on individual or small group interest.

Innovative- The innovation speaks to the possessed willingness to unlearn and learn new knowledge. We are challenged to abandon old knowledge or outdated functions of production. This concept is often difficult to grasp for those educators who are unwilling to embrace new technologies and social learning communities. Thus, lead learners (educators) must be vigilant in their approach to introducing staff/students to new learning modalities replete with advanced learning mediums.

Anybody/Anytime/Anywhere- The Three A’s are critical components to the advancement of a Knowmadic Society. Knowledge and learning must transcend beyond the scope of the school day ( 6 hours). Learning opportunities must be identified and validated as holistic and non-standardized. We must open up the learning venue to coffee shops, libraries, corner stores, street corners, and other public settings conducive to social gathering. In addition, we must accept the expertise of those who have knowledge on a given subject that they are willing to share with the community. These types of learning experiences are truly transcendent and inclusive.

Please share your thoughts!