Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Culture of "DO," not "KNOW"

My most meaningful session at Educon was a discussion regarding the necessity of moving away from learning that is driven by "content coverage" and moving to learning that is driven by important process skills. David Jakes set the stage by providing us with some background on design theory. (His excellent presentation resources are available here.) Then, David set us loose to redesign selected aspects of school.

Bill Ferriter, Patrick Larkin, and Larry Fliegelman were my partners in this endeavor. (Could you ask for a better team? Seriously?) Quickly, our conversation turned to the need to focus on "doing" instead of "knowing." This idea holds enormous implications for schools. Specifically, the ways that schools use time, materials, and staff would be deeply affected. Consider the following questions that we considered in our session:

What if students could learn whenever they felt like it?

What if graduation and advancement was based on competency?

What if kids worked independently on meaningful tasks to provide evidence of learning?

While it's easy to dismiss this thinking with a series of "yea, buts," I encourage you to ask "WHAT IF" instead.

Thanks to David for the fantastic session, and thanks to Bill for cleaning up our messy diagram and sharing it out!


  1. Really enjoyed this session too, Kristen -- and getting to know you! Definitely an #educon takeway, that's for sure.

    It's interesting to see that I've gotten a bit of pushback in Twitter on our argument about the doing/knowing gap. Most people suggest that you can't separate doing from knowing -- one can't live without the other.

    The hitch -- from my point of view -- is that schools aren't doing anything with DOING. We're pretty much cramming KNOWING down the pipes of our kids. There's no sense of balance between the two.

    Anyway, here's to hoping that we keep swimming in the same digital waters for awhile. I'd like that. You challenge me.

    Rock on,

  2. I thing the Twittersphere is pushing back because we are condensing a rich conversation into a brief post/image. I agree that there is some knowing that must occur, but the DOING must be the focus of our curricular lenses. Great connecting with you, and here's to some balance in the coming months!



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