Steve Jobs once stated, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
I have thought about that quote a lot in the last few weeks since I first saw it. I keep thinking about it as I walk the hallways of my school buildings, trying to give the best educational experience I can for my district’s students. Every week, there are more blogs, more tweets, more research, about how education is changing. There is growing energy to transform the current Industrial Age model of education into the Information Age model – of even a model based on an Age of Empowerment.
To do so will require a new way of thinking about learning. Yes, learning. Not education. Education is the system society constructed to support learning. Do we have that currently? Yes, we have a system that adequately supports learning, but does it fully? I will never disparage the system in which I work, yet I will push to make it better, to think about how what we do every day impacts our students – either propelling them forward or stifling them.
We must – all of us – ask the questions that challenge the status quo. If the answers reveal that our current system is best, then we can take comfort in that knowledge and continue down our current path. I believe, though, that the answers will reveal that a new system of support for learning is needed – one that takes full advantage of technology, personalized learning opportunities, and teachers as learning facilitators.
A new system of learning at its center will require new practices, new structures and a new mindset. Educators have always risen to the challenge to meet the needs of the students. With this, they will rise once again, and they will finally see a better way of supporting the learning of each and every student.
We have the proven practices, the passion, and the professionalism to build a new system. It is time we construct it so our students never again have to live someone else’s education.