by Terry Hayek
Schools, as we know them, are dying.
Shopping, as we know it, is dying.
While both are obvious, one loss seems to breed opportunity while the other holds on for dear life.
First, some context.
Blended learning lies between the perceived ‘old way’ (in-person learning) and the ‘new way’ (computer-mediated learning).
Blended learning can be thought of as a bridge between e-learning and brick-and-mortar learning. It’s a compromise and a strategy—a way of using existing infrastructure (teachers, buildings, curriculum, etc.). As we create New learning experiences, models, spaces and outcomes.
see more What is the definition of blended learning?
While ‘e-learning’ has a bit of a stench to many educators, we can all recall that the early cars were scary and the vision of what they would become was unclear.
It is only in hindsight that we fully understand what a car is. Before Hondas and Fords and Teslas and gas stations and expressways, there were only noisy and unreliable ‘horse-replacements’ that made many people love their horses.
Before the car-automatic (self) mobile phone (Rice) – To be a product, it must be a solution.
In these volatile and awkward times of change, every new idea is an idea that could change everything forever; Every company was scrambling (often awkwardly) to be the one that solved the problem of getting people around.
We are in a similar situation in education in 2022, where the pursuit of innovation trumps the pursuit of quality and many ideas are bad, but with the right ideas it can all turn on a dime.
A few years ago, Apple announced that they were renaming Apple Stores to Apple ‘Town Squares’ – places where consumers could gather and enjoy ‘Appleness’.
CityLab explains the significance.
“Retailers, very consciously, are promoting these in-store ‘experiences’…” This is a response to the fact that shopping is now something that can be done anywhere, and that response can be traced to linguistic shifts.”
The shift they’re talking about is from ‘stores’ to ‘town squares’—and ‘town squares’ mean providing ‘experiences’ rather than products or services.
Although education and commerce are distinctly different, they work – more or less – in the same way. Grocery stores, farmers markets, Wal-Mart, Apple and all others who seek to participate in the ‘free market’ of capitalism exist to satisfy the perceived needs of an individual (who themselves represent a ‘demographic’).
The language here is intended because the language is cold, too. These are inherently dehumanizing processes, from the process of industrialization that produces ‘products’ to the advertising used to promote them that seeks to create a ‘personality’ that a potential buyer chooses to ‘participate’ in by handing over their money.
see more 12 things could be school instead of school?
This sense of identity is why celebrity spokespeople are so well paid.
(For example, one can only imagine how much money LeBron James made just by tweeting that he drives a Kia. Kia is an automotive brand that represents the bottom end of the US market and whose previous marketing efforts have included ‘buy one, get one free’ promotions. As for the car, so demanding a multi-millionaire drive it is a bit absurd—which is, of course, the whole point. Now consumers are increasingly associating Kia with LeBron James.)
As consumers, we’ve been trained to feel that we’re making our existence more ‘personal’ by accessing things that only exist because millions of other people want them too.
The language of invention
Profit is the currency of commerce, and visibility and identity and community are powerful strategies for reaping that profit.
It could be argued that in education, the highest currency is commonality—everyone working together to identify the same ways to navigate the same curriculum to do well on the same tests so that we can use the same language to communicate to the same confused parents that their kids do well. will be
And standardization, ‘staff buy-in’ and whole-school and population-based data are ways to achieve or demonstrate that commonality. There is safety in numbers, apparently. If we all struggle, nobody struggles.
“Schlesinger (a professor of history at the University of Minnesota) thinks that companies with physical stores will be in trouble if they don’t adjust to the fact that the Internet has taken away the reason for many customers to visit physical locations in the first place.”
Because commercial behemoths seek to rethink spaces in light of their interdependence—that is, shifting the use of one space as another space changes—it’s almost a kind of flipped classroom approach.
But by merely wanting to flip the classroom, we are also retaining the classroom. In a ‘flipped’ setting, only the functionality of the space changes—and not fluidly changing in the authentic moving way for each situation, but simply flipped in the other direction. It’s like moving the kitchen to the living room and the living room to the kitchen in hopes of renovating the house.
Changing consumer habits
Consider the following scenarios that corporate CEOs must consider in this ‘flipped economy’
Scenario A: Consumers buy enough from both online and brick-and-mortar stores to ensure profitability and growth in both the online and brick-and-mortar/’offline’ space.
Scenario B: Consumers prefer to explore products online but prefer to buy through brick-and-mortar.
Scenario C: Consumers prefer to buy online and explore products/services through brick-and-mortar (although in the mobile world, even the concept of a single brick-and-mortar location representing a company may be dated).
Scenario D: Consumers see on and offline spaces as ‘equal’ and equally desirable, with the ability to use both interchangeably without restrictions or ‘penalties’ (eg paying higher prices to shop in a store, or sacrificing bank card security to shop online). .
Obviously, companies would prefer scenario A above. When this does not happen, companies need to rethink the ‘space’. Space is just the medium to reach consumers, each requiring different strategies based on their respective strengths. These shifts are opportunities, and exactly how slow-to-adapt companies die.
(Walk through a Sears department store – if you have any left around – and tell me you can’t the smell The unique sadness of a once-proud, dying company.)
Disturbance as a cause
The Internet sends companies scrambling.
Mobile adoption sent companies scrambling.
Social media and social-media-as-customer-service companies are rocking.
Voice search is sending companies scrambling.
In consumer markets, if Amazon threatens to create brick-and-mortar grocery stores with frictionless checkouts, the rest of the industry looks for bright minds to respond with smart strategies.
When it comes to education, there is very little that can beat someone beyond test scores. Imagine if the only thing driving innovation at Apple was profit margin, or if the only thing forcing Google to rethink its business model was declining ad sales. Sales and profits are the impact, and by the time financial trends are clear, it may be too late.
We know the brick-and-mortar department store is dead, and keep it aliveAs it is, only Keeping it from what might happen– keeping it from changing shape into something that parallels the appearance and form of the changing world around it.
So let it change shape.
Lose the ability to change or change forever
If we go back to the CityLab article, there is one sentence that should stand out for teachers.
“Retailers, very consciously, are promoting these in-store “experiences”…” This is a response to the fact that shopping is now something that can be done anywhere, and that response can be traced to the linguistic shift.”
Now, replace the word ‘buy’ with ‘education’ and you’ll begin to see why it’s worth understanding.
“It’s actually a reaction to learn Now something that can be done anywhere…”
Learning can be done ‘from anywhere’. While equity in education prevents that from translating to all students with sophisticated devices consuming Google-delivered data via broadband WiFi, mobile learning does not require mobile technology. Anything can be learned.
Learning can be used anywhere, qualified anywhere and authenticated anywhere. But there is a catch.
Since public education exists today, learning…
…does not begin with love or racism or loss of water bodies or topsoil or forests, does not end with people or family legacy or the unique needs of that student.
…doesn’t start with a brilliant or crazy or fun or important idea.
…the skills appropriate for a learner do not begin or end with a useful skill.
…begins and ends, rather, in a school—a school guided by the hope of increasingly efficient ‘mastery’ of a more or less universal (national) curriculum.
Instead, let it begin and end with the genius of a child’s imagination.
May it begin and end in the crushing poverty that hangs over their families for generations.
Let it start with a global crisis or a local opportunity or an app that uses deeply personalized algorithms to deliver the right content at the right time. that student.
Let the systems and rules and buildings and funds and roles that make it all happen be disrupted by market forces that force companies to innovate or die. Protecting schools from these forces ensures that the school, as a concept, never changes shape.
K-12 is positioned as something to provide ‘college readiness’. Purpose of school “Preparing kids for college” is not, and never has been.
So let the schools become something else.
Let them be something that works for children—something that visibly improves their lives and the health of the communities they participate in, and calls upon the love, opportunity, and consistently unique talents that make them who they are. .