Blended Learning Singularity

Part of a series of posts on personalized learning, we interview Sydney, a student at VOISE Academy. SIIA is holding a symposium on personalized learning August 4-6 a the Harvard Club, in Boston, Massachusetts.
You can find more information about the SIIA Innovate to Educate Symposium by viewing the Innovate to Educate registration page.
Chad Sansing has started blogging about what he is calling the Dark Singularity: Or, Is there a reason for schools beyond making AYP or winning at accreditation? It’s an important worldview that needs more broadcasting. Here’s Chad in comments talking about where his “defensiveness” comes with things like online tools in classrooms and blended strategies:

I think some of my concerns stem from traditional teacher defensiveness about accepting “outside” or private help to teach in a classroom. I don’t want to pretend that I’m free of stereotypical teacher hang-ups, but I try to limit them or react to them positively. Other concerns of mine come from the way many services and products enter the classroom – by political adoption – rather than by teacher- or student-choice. I work in a division with a great menu of literature, for instance, but with little choice about which remedial program to use (or to create) in accordance with federal intervention money guidelines. Where materials aligned to standards and testing are concerned, I think I also hold valid concerns about conflicts of interest regarding privatization, profit, and proprietary interests.
I do appreciate @edReformer’s broad view of what makes for a good educational application or service, and I often wish there was a way for teachers to be given trust and control over which products to use with which students at which schools. Teachers generally do have input into what materials are adopted by a school division, but then experience a period of inflexibility in what they are sanctioned to use once money has been spent on a particular product. I think blended learning has a better chance to take off in the right direction with less division-wide adoption of programs and more choice protected and funded by student and classroom.
I am less excited about blended learning providing individualized access to, say, the Common Core standards, than I am about blended learning providing access to new relationships and learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom.
I think teachers and students should be allowed to compete with vendors.
Of course, my most recent experience with vendor was when she hugged me during an in-service and said students like me used to driver her crazy, so perhaps you’re on to something.

But, admitting his own duality these days, here is Chad again talking about whether, in the context of cloud computing and online access to learning, teachers in fact become storytellers, contract-based learners, or, and this is something I don’t understand, “Tropospheres.”

Do teachers become atmospheric features in which clouds form and gather to interface? Do teachers become purveyors of home-bases, tools, and contacts that further clients’ learning or help clients form new alliances, collaborations, and resource pools? Do we package learning kits or help Web 3.0 neophytes learn the ropes of learning? What happens when there are no neophytes? What happens when the semantic web does a better job of this than people? Does it already? Possibly.

And my input:

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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