I was recently at Officeworks inquiring about iPad Minis. For some reason the cost had fallen through the roof and I was wondering why? The sales assistant informed me that Apple were basically trying to offload the first generation minis now that the newer version had come out. The catch, they only come in 16gb. This led to that and we ended up talking about storage and how there are so many unnecessary apps that clog things up. He then told me about a ruling in South Korea last year which stated that bloatware, those applications that are placed on the phone before you even get it, must be deletable. Of course, laws in South Korea are different to laws in Australia (or United States), therefore such rulings are yet to be made here. The assistant wondered though whether at some point of time this might not have an influence on mobile computing.
This idea of inherited applications however got me thinking beyond mobile devices and to the classroom, learning and education as a whole. What are those elements that we take for granted in the classroom? Those structures that simply get enacted each day, month, year? Who is making the informed choices? School? Region? Union? Government? You? Do we have a choice to stop and question such things? Should we? Are such habits and structures useful? Essential for things to keep moving? Or should there be a choice about what structures there actually are?
George Couros touched on this in a recent post in which he put out the challenge to see our schools with ‘fresh eyes’. Importantly, this is not just for those practises which we as negative, but everything. Every now and again, we need to stop and ask ourselves the question, “Why do we do this?” Couros also encourages us to also reflect upon our own personal habits and choices. This though, Couros warns, is to no avail if we are not willing to be persuaded into a new way of thinking.
I am not saying that there is not need for process and structure. For as Tom Barrett recently suggested, “By having a simple, clear, and shared process we actually offer some certainty amidst the planned doubt and mystery that is to come.” The question though is whose process is it and who is owning it. As I suggested last year, the new year offers a great opportunity to once again reconsider the baggage in the classroom.
POSTSCRIPT: For more ideas and inspiration in regards to seeing things differently, I also encourage you to read Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question.
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Baggage in the Classroom by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.