Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We Want a Window

"We want a window."  I fondly remember this clip from one of my favorite movies, The Right Stuff, from way back in 1983.  The scientists and astronauts have the same goal in mind here but the difference in perspective and understanding becomes obvious in how they approach the design of the capsule/spacecraft.

That same year, 1983 saw the release of A Nation at Risk.   A catalyst for waves of change even more frantic than the space race.  The subsequent changes in our nations schools are revolutionary indeed.  Another connection to the film is that this same divide exists in education.  As we move into new frontiers in learning and teaching many decision makers seek to remake the educational process.  What they seek and desire for the future can differ greatly from those working in the classrooms and with students themselves.  The everyday teacher's version of the future seems far removed from this one without windows.

Both groups seek to innovate and integrate technology in new and helpful ways.  But the process of change reveals what amounts to a philosophical gulf.  We want the same things in general as a goal  but might view the end product in dramatically different ways.    Are there lessons in past of America's Space program as we search to implement the right stuff?

The solution I see is that either teachers act more directly as leaders or a great deal must be done to integrate them into the process and provide them input.  Otherwise we will roll out a capsule no one wants to fly, or even ride in.

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