How do we successfully navigate the chasm between “progressives” and “traditionalists”? The RSA Report (March 2016) Creative Public Leadership suggests that creating a compelling argument is the first step.
For those of us who have been learning online for nearly 20 years, creating a compelling argument might seem redundant.
We wonder why it seems so hard to convince those higher up in the education hierarchy that change is an urgent need.
Perhaps the work of Roger Martin can help us understand the chasm more clearly.
If I am an educator and/or education leader, and I believe that I am doing excellent work, I have no reason to look for new tools to change my practice.
If I believe that I am a learner, and that my practice can always improve, I look for tools to help me organize my thinking, to learn more about the world and to connect with others in like roles. These tools include traditional learning materials like books and research papers, but they now also include digital tools and social networking opportunities.
How I see myself and my purpose influences my choice of tools. If leaders use traditional tools like books and articles, they might insist that I do as well. But if I am an innovative thinker, I will stretch beyond what my leadership team is modelling and engage in digital tools that might lead me to online conversations and learning – to building a powerful network of online learners who challenge my thinking and invite me to participate in a whole different level of learning.
This begins to change who I am, and my thinking about what tools are best for my learning. We can see already how this begins to conflict with the thinking of education leaders who have not used the vast array of today’s online tools for learning.
Choosing digital tools creates opportunities for unique, personalized and deep professional learning, outside of what has been prescribed by education leaders.
This changes us.
Our thinking about our practice is now influenced by educators from around the world, not just those in our hierarchy. And those “above us” in our deeply hierarchical education systems may have no clue that this learning is possible, thereby devaluing its importance.
We liken this to coming out of a cave, realizing that the paucity of learning “in the cave” using traditional tools is not what we need in this *VUCA world. We recognize that the vastly expansive and rich learning opportunities and the tools that support and leverage them are critical to the success of our students today.
We are changed educators. But when we jump up and down and try to make others see this (invisible) world we have discovered, we are often met with disappointment (or worse).
Seth Godin asks us today:
It’s far easier to worry and gripe about insufficient authority, about those that would seek to slow us down, disrespect us or silence us.
But we live in a moment where each of us has the power of influence.
What will you do with it?
*VUCA=Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity
Featured Image by Carl Jones: CC-BY-NC-2.0
David Truss: The Lone Wolf
Heidi Siwak: The Very Strange World of Adult Problem Solving
Seth Godin: More Powerful Than You Know
Roger Martin: The Opposable Mind
The RSA: Creative Public Leadership
Harvard Business Review: What VUCA really means for you