Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"School of One" circa 1992, without the Terrible Name, or Computers

Thomas Hoerr, 1992:

To get started, Hoerr had his faculty read, study, and discuss Gardner's writings. Putting theory into practice involved trial and error, but after some initial bumps in the road, staff successfully developed curriculum and teaching techniques that played to the various strengths of individual students. In the classroom, the result was, says Hoerr, "a bit like looking into a beehive: the uniformed visitor might see lots of bees moving in many directions with no apparent logic, but the beekeeper knows what each bee is doing and how an activity fits within the overall pattern."

I don't understand why "computers can make it easier to do the difficult, sophisticated things we've been trying to do for years" is a less appealing, or at least less used, argument than "New! Disruptive! Etc."


Claus von Zastrow said...

You make a valid point. A few years ago, the Center on Education Policy produced a document laying out the core principles of public education--These principles, they argued, should be inviolable even if technology and other forces fundamentally transform the way we "do school."

Chris Lehmann said...

Beats me... it's usually one of the first things I say.

Andrea Reibel said...

We lead with that, too. The technology helps to do the difficult stuff that makes teaching more effective. It supports the teacher in doing his/her best work -- this is the same principle behind the Burst:Reading intervention. I guess this message isn't as glamorous as "new, etc.," but most educators get excited when they hear it. People love buzzwords; eventually they'll move on to something else, for better or for worse. "School of One" isn't so bad; I know you know that the catchy name helps get the press coverage.

Stephen Downes said...

Because, for me, computers make it possible to do new things I would never have considered possible before.

And I am not willing to limit myself to the vision of what is possible that existed before this remarkable invention became commonplace.