Thursday, March 8, 2012

Building Education from Ground Zero: Joplin, MO

I just read an article on Edudemic that I wanted to share with you entitled, "How A Tornado Inspired Innovation In Joplin, MO Schools."

I can't even begin to imagine the devastation to the city due to the EF5 tornado on May 22, 2011, but the article describes what is so great about the human spirit. It's the ability to survive, adapt, create, and to meet any and every challenge in the worst of times that creates a sense of hope and excitement within myself.
Joplin was left with no school buildings, no books, no lesson plans, and no technology and 86 days before school was to reopen for the next academic year. The article describes the challenges and processes that the school district went through from the IT perspective and it's amazing what they were able to accomplish in such a short period of time.
After reading the article, I began to ask myself how I would envision school if I had 86 days to create whatever I wanted. How would the brick and mortar buildings be designed to meet today's and hopefully tomorrow's technology needs? What would my instructional design be? Would it be more of a hybrid model (combination of traditional teaching methods and online) or would I also offer a fully online educational model? And what about teaching methods and lesson plans? Could I incorporate the elements of a Socratic method (a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas) and still meet the requirements of mandated testing? Or would this be the time to just flip the classroom and adopt Sal Khan's approach to education where lectures are watched at night by use of technology and the homework is done during the school day? 
I hope you will read the article and and ask yourself the following questions:
  1. How would you design your educational system if you could start from ground zero?
  2. Is this where we should be?
  3. What are the challenges/obstacles that impede our progress?
  4. How do we get there?
I wish things like the Joplin tornado would never happen, but unfortunately they do. I can only hope that we can all learn from those horrible tragedies and admire the resiliency of the human spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...