By: Rose Colby

I was recently reading about Google X.  We often think of the Google work place as the workplace of millennials that is like a toddler’s sandbox. It is filled with spaces for work and play and sets the pace for workspace design that challenges the thinking of educators who are working in spaces that are far different. Google X is the Google work environment on steroids. It is the think tank of Google where the only expectation of the employees is audacious thinking.

This has really jarred my thinking. As we look at this new entity called competency education, we could really use a good dose of audacious thinking. The No Child Left Behind era, which I hope is firmly ensconced in our rear view mirror, has trapped our thinking and caused a great deal of reactionary behavior in our ranks. Have you heard the following:  “Our kids haven’t done well on the state test for the past few years, we must need a new literacy program. We don’t have enough supports in Math, we’ll just have to build an RTI system for that also.”

What is really missing in this thinking is not our heartfelt effort and need to do better, but the real audacious thinking space we need to rethink not what we use in education but how to create a new design for learning. What if instead of herding our educators together for a one or two day retreat to fix things, we create spaces for audacious thinking by some bright divergent thinking educators, parents, and community members. Let’s give them time–6 months to a year– and an open space to gather together and research, think, and design prototypes for a real solution..  I like to use the ‘Dream, Design, Deliver’ concept.

Google pretty much works under wraps. Where did those Google glasses come from anyhow? Who knew they were doing that? Secrecy in audacious thinking by a bright group of individuals who are passionate about kids would have to be guaranteed. Have you ever seen some really good ideas tank in your district because too many people jumped to an assumption that it could never work?

Think about it… audacious thinking by good people in a space dedicated to redesigning local education…..

 

Rose Colby is a competency based learning and assessment specialist.  She is the co-author of “Off the Clock: Moving education from Time to Competency” (Corwin, 2012).

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