My current class on Disruptive Innovation in Education is coming to an end, and to steal a meme from one of my co-workers, I have felt
for much of the class. For one thing, I am in general not a particularly disruptive person; for the most part I follow the rules and try to be a team player. Although, sit across from me in a meeting at your own peril, as I am known to be a bit of an eye-roller if things linger on unproductive matters too long. (But that is a blog post for another day.)
But throughout the course of this course, I've learned that "disruptive" in the sense it's being used in the class along with the word "innovation" means not so much being obnoxious or loud or ill-mannered, but instead "describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, every displacing established" processes [source]. I am hoping that my idea for a new way to teach digital literacy skills to students will become one of those processes that moves "relentlessly up market."
Because teachers are already so overwhelmed with curricular content - not to mention the alphabet soup of AUGs, IEPs, ELPs, UDL, UbD, TEKs, CIPA, FERPA, COPPA, and on and on - I want students to create and deliver the digital literacy curriculum. So in my plan, those students who have a good grasp of, say, formatting a document, using shortcut keys, or paraphrasing information found online, to name a few, will create short videos or other presentations that will share that knowledge with their peers. And students who don't know the digital "tricks of the trade" will get a way to learn those skills from other students. Some teachers might also learn skills from these presentations! This plan constitutes a "disruptive innovation" because although it will require some involvement on the part of teachers to communicate the plan and offer suggestions to the students on getting started, essentially the students will be in charge of the teaching and learning. Teachers will be almost entirely removed from the equation altogether.
I first posted about my 50,000 foot plan on June 4, right at one month ago. I got some very affirming feedback on that blog post, some from teacher/librarian friends who are part of my Twitter PLN, and several from teachers and curriculum coordinators within my district. At present, I have the strong support of at least three people in Curriculum, three principals, one high school teacher, one elementary teacher, and several librarians in the district where I work. The high school teacher and I have plans to meet with a student the week of July 11 to start laying the groundwork for student involvement and ownership. Click the graphic below to see an outline of how things will continue to roll out over the course of the upcoming school year.
A big question that I hope to get some feedback on is: when, where, and how will students create the content for the project? At this point, I'm imagining that the creating will take place mostly after school, in the library, and/or at home, although I'm still optimistic that at least some teachers and librarians would find value (and therefore time) for the content creation to happen during the school day. And I remain committed to the idea that ALL kids will be invited and encouraged to become active participants in the creation of the content.
In my literature review, I discovered much support for the necessity of digital literacy education and for the value of student-created content. This past week, I attended the annual ISTE conference, where I heard over and over again about the importance and value of including students in educational decision-making. I am more committed than ever to ensuring that students are deeply involved in the planning and execution of a digital literacy program. If you're on Twitter, be sure to check out the #stuvoice conversation about student involvement in a wide variety of educational endeavors. One additional insight I discovered while at ISTE was that my vision is probably much too SMALL, and that I need to be open to expanding the whole plan.
Here is the commercial I came up with to gain support for my idea.
For the class, I also had to compile a list of possible resources to consider for the future; that list is developing here.
So, dear teachers, will you join this journey with me? If you are in my district, I'd love for you to fill out this form and let me know you're interested in participating!