Everything is a Remix: Education Needs New Cables
“Nobody starts out original. We need copying to build a foundation of knowledge and understanding, and after that, things can get interesting. After we’ve grounded ourselves in the fundamentals… it’s then possible to create something new through transformation; taking an idea and creating variations. This is time-consuming tinkering, but it can eventually produce a breakthrough.” - Everything is a Remix
Some of my posts travel beyond discussing new tools we can use in classrooms and discuss the actual process of innovating our approach towards teaching and learning. One of the most common questions I get – and have trouble answering with clarity – is “how.” The video below encapsulates the process of innovation.
I don’t think we have a lack of innovators, but I do believe that most schools lack the fundamental structure welcoming those innovations. By the time we do adopt an idea, it’s outdated or become somewhat irrelevant. For example, consider that even with:
- the prevalence of mobile devices and Internet connectivity
- research revealing the value of informal learning
- knowing that active engagement increases performance,
the majority of classrooms do not leverage these for academic gain. I would argue that one major contributor to this is current school structure, which is absolutely necessary but definitely needs revisions.
For further illustration, imagine what the visual quality of following innovations:
- Blu-Ray Discs
- Xbox 360 Kinect
would look like with old television cables from the 1980′s. Decent, at best (if it’s supported at all). These old cables weren’t built to support the video bandwidth provided by these new devices. No matter how many tweaks you try to make to the brightness and tint of your television, your bottleneck are those cables. No matter how many upgraded devices you purchase in the future, as long you’re using those same old cables, you won’t receive any enhancements in visual quality.
The field of education is operating on old television cables. The innovations are there; industry and the medical field are continually upgrading their wiring. We need to copy the ideas from their “technicians” so that we can also embrace and develop innovations.
I know it’s a deep issue beyond my speculation of solutions. But with certainty, old cables eventually aren’t accommodated for and upgrades are forced. Let’s shop around for new ideas.