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Pedagogy defines School 2.0

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Earlier this week I read the first paragraph of Chris Lehmann’s post: Some Thoughts About School 2.0 –Part 1.

I knew after the first paragraph that this was one of those posts that I wanted to make sure I was in the right place and right time to read…I’m glad I did.

It’s about the pedagogy.

Four simple words that is the difference between School 2.0 and School 1.5.

School 2.0 although driven to change by the advancement of technology is not about technology, it’s about the advancement of society, of our culture as a world. Technology played a large part, but it is society that has changed. Everything from out-sourcing work to Asia, to the built in GPS in your car, to the phone/pda/web/music/video/picture iphone. Society has changed that’s why a new school is needed. If you think schools need to change because of technology…I’d argue you have it wrong. Schools need to change because our society has changed.

I listened to David Warlick’s Connect Learning podcast #77 on the way to work today in which he sits down with his son and learns about World of Warcraft. David finds it fascinating that his son doesn’t ask people he meets where they are from, or located at around the world. Students today are becoming more global, we are still fascinated that we can chat or Skype around the world. I know every time I send a file via Skype to someone it amazes me, but this generation is global, it’s always been that way or at least they don’t find it surprising that it is that way….society has changed. No longer are you stuck in a small town in Northern Canada like Clarence Fisher’s class…instead you can be in Northern Canada and be a member of a global society. Placement on the earth is becoming irrelevant. Being able to connect to others is what is relevant.

Chris writes:

Too much educational software just attempts to turn these really powerful devices into the next version of the workbook. That’s criminal.

I love this statement and this to me is school 1.5. Where technology just replaces the things that we do. This isn’t a new school, this is an updated school. A new school starts with a new pedagogy a new theory and even a new taxonomy of learning. School 2.0 is not an upgrade to School 1.0…it’s a whole new school. An upgrade to School 1.0 is word processing instead of hand writing or PowerPoints instead of posters. These are upgrades to an old system. School 2.0 needs to be new from the ground up…starting with the foundation in which we build our teaching practices on (Universities are you listening?).

In order to get to school 2.0 however, a technology infrastructure needs to be in place. We can not change our pedagogy and adapt these new taxonomies and new theories if we do not have the tools to do so. I believe that is the phase we are now moving out of. For the past 10 years we have been creating school 1.5. As we built the infrastructure needed to move to a new way of teaching and learning.

Chris’s SLA school, Tim’s Elementary and Dr. Tyson’s Middle School are three great examples of schools that are headed towards School 2.0. Moving towards School 2.0 starts with leadership as all three of these examples prove.

What is School 2.0?

I think we are starting to define it. If we can change pedagogy by looking at new taxonomies, learning, talking and discussing new theories and looking at ways to make it possible we will get there.

I’m just finishing George Siemens’ PDF book Knowing Knowledge a great look at his connectivism theory in the context of knowledge and how knowledge is changing.

School 2.0 needs to be about creating knowledge, analyzing information, and evaluating both. It’s about understanding a world in which connections and communicating with others is at the foundation of how we learn, that through creating our own knowledge not from what a teacher tells us, but rather from what we read, listen to, and watch ourselves is far more powerful. A teacher is a guide, much like the  guide we had in Vietnam. Arrange the boat for the trip, but allow us to experience the trip, answer questions when we have them, and stay out of the way when we want to experience something ourselves. We could have easily called our guide a history teacher showing us the “Hilton Hotel” where POWs were held, allowing us to experience a silk factory, and filling in the gaps that we couldn’t or didn’t know. We did the learning, he did the guiding.

For years now we’ve talked about being the “Guide on the Side” in the classroom, and that’s what we need to be. Of course it’s hard to do that when you have to fill an 80 minute block. In School 2.0 a ‘tour’ might take 80 minutes it might take 10 minutes. It might be 10 minutes of background knowledge and then 80 minutes of exploration and creation of knowledge. Teachers need time to plan out the route, book the trip, and make sure the experience is available. We need to rethink schools and think about just how messy learning is.

What is School 2.0? It’s a school that defines learning and knowledge not by seat time, or hours spent on a project, but by what is experienced, created, and communicated.


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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. I’ve always said that geography is irrelevent as long as we are working online…. But as soon as we step off, people in remote areas still run into trouble. Everytime I am asked to speak at a conference and then have to turn it down because of travel time… Every time people want to meet, to get together somewhere, people in remote areas are still in trouble. When my entire life moves online, I’ll be in the same space as people in London and New York, until then, I live in a split world, in the middle of things in one, far away on the margins in the other. Come on Second Life!!

  2. Jeff:

    I love the tour guide analogy. I was an educational tour guide for 5 years after college, and what is interesting about that is that educational tours have both “guiding” and “lecturing.” In fact, the lectures are much more interesting because they helped to frame the guiding time.


  3. Jeff:

    I really like the tour guide analogy. I was an educational tour guide/organizer for my university’s alumni association for five years after college, and what struck me about this idea is that there is both “guiding” and “lecturing” that takes place on an educational tour. The two work well together, with the lectures all the more interesting because they can provide a frame for the guiding.


  4. Jeff, thought you might be interested in the Knowing Knowledge seminar taking place this month at SCoPE. George Siemens will be facilitating this 3-week discussion. SCoPE is hosted by Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Participation is free and open to the public.



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