Leaders: What conversations are you having?

This morning I was led to a thought-provoking post at the Online Learning Insights blogHow Generation “C” will change education…forever. In the post, the writer shares a report titled The Rise of Generation C: Implications for the World of 2020. I haven’t read the report beyond the executive summary, but there are ideas here that school leaders need to start thinking about to drive their visions for the future of teaching and learning.

Here’s just one paragraph from the beginning of the report:

As they grow up, this highly connected generation will live “online” most of their waking hours, comfortably participate in social networks with several hundred or more contacts, generate and consume vast amounts of formerly private information, and carry with them a sophisticated “personal cloud” that identifies them in the converged online and offline worlds.

I think it would be hard to argue this is an inaccurate description of the students we have in K-12 schooling right now.

Leaders and policymakers: If education is about preparing learners to function successfully in college and career, how does your vision address the current reality? How are you preparing students to manage this reality – right now? What do you need to change (start doing and stop doing)? How will you engage students in the conversation to envision their own education?

Sadly, too many leaders and policymakers are blinded to the realities of the day and the future as described above. We are so mired in playing the same old game of education that we lose sight of what’s coming (and arguably already here). Unless we as a system start to engage in more important conversations that move beyond Common Core, teacher quality and accountability, we will become increasingly more irrelevant to the learners in the system.  Don’t get me wrong – we need to have the conversations that make up the “game of school” (for different reasons), but we also need to lead new conversations about what those ideas look like in the real world context our learners live in and bring to school. It’s not an either/or. Leaders and policymakers need to start having both conversations, and demonstrating some real leadership.

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