I love when the new year is on us in full force and we made vows to clean up and clear out. At my house we start spring cleaning as soon as the holidays are over and the last child returns to college. On of the areas that I have to declutter and rethink is the bulletin board right in front of my desk. I collect things I like, things that make me smile, things that make me think and post them there on the bulletin board as a reminder. Really, my bulletin board is an inspiration board.
One thing that has lived on my inspiration board since the start of 2010, is Shelly Blake-Plock's post about 21 Things That Will be Obsolete in Education in 2020. If you haven't read this post, or even if you have not read it recently, I recommend reading it, printing it out, and holding it near.
Here are the basic 21 thing that Shelly talks about in his post:
2. Language Labs
5. The Role of Standardized Tests in College Admissions
6. Differentiated Instruction as the Sign of a Distinguished Teacher
7. Fear of Wikipedia
9. Attendance Offices
11. IT Departments
12. Centralized Institutions
13. Organization of Educational Services by Grade
14. Education School Classes that Fail to Integrate Social Technology
15. Paid/Outsourced Professional Development
16. Current Curricular Norms
17. Parent-Teacher Conference Night
18. Typical Cafeteria Food
19. Outsourced Graphics Design and Webmastering
20. High School Algebra 1
I think this is a great list to revisit and to realize how much progress and conversation is still surrounding each of these items. I also think this is a great list to use in conversations in a a school environment and planning conversations. Here are the questions I would use to frame the discussion around this list:
What does our school believe about this item (like #1 desks) and why?
What are we doing to investigate the possibilities around different approaches available with each item?
Do we know what our competitors ideas are around this item? How can we differentiate ourselves in this area and best support our mission?
Are their cost savings around innovating in this area?
Are teaching and learning enhanced and improved by innovating in this area?
Based on the many times I have lead conversations using this list, I assure you that the conversation and ideas generated from this list, and the "tells" you will get about your schools culture are great and valuable.