The Transformation of Schooling: A Way Forward

The Transformation of Schooling: A Way Forward

Andrew Gitlin (University Of Georgia, Atlanta, GA, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/ijissc.2015040103
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Progressive change in education is often limited by leaving in place long standing school structures such as the classroom, the stop-go nature of schooling and the essentialist approach to planning. The author argues that technology is a key to altering these long standing aspects of schooling and suggests that UnEarth is particularly suited for this role because it is based on developing communities of difference as well as knowledge sharing and storage. UnEarth links students within the classroom to students outside, develops a building approach to schooling based on what students have learned in previous years, and allows teachers to personalize the curriculum.
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The problem of school change has been with us forever (Sarason,1990). From Dewey (1929), to Sarason (1990), to Fullen and Hargreaves (1996), to Cookson and Schneider (1995), to Lowe (1995), to the Department of Education(2009) and Wrigley (2011) the problems and potential solutions to school change have been well articulated. At best, as the Ford foundation (Petrovich, 2008) has found, these changes have altered schooling in minimal ways and even when significant change has occurred, it has been short lived. The result of this stasis is that historically and currently the best predictor of school change is still socio-economic status (Protor & Dalaker, 2002; Berliner, 2005). Race is not far behind as a key factor in school success with African-American’ and Latino cultures’ having disproportionate high numbers in special education classes and disproportionate low numbers in Honors and Advanced Placement classes (Oaks, 2007). And this account ignores how African-American males and women in general get socialized in schools such that possible futures are constrained and thought to reside outside of their “normal” identity formation (Fordham, 1996). The record of school reform and change therefore raises enough questions to encourage educational actors of all stripes to search again, to research, the underlying assumptions and practical solutions associated with the school change process. I too have been concerned with change and specifically change aimed at increasing educational success for all students regardless of SES, race and gender among other variables. This concern has led to my development of a global learning community—UnEarth.

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