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Lead from the Start: Disrupting Education

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Disrupting Education

I have been reading Clayton Christensen's Disrupting Class.In it he proposes that education, like all industries of a certain vintage, is ripe for disruptive innovation. He proposes that this will come about because technology provides unique opportunities for individualization in untapped markets like early childhood education, boutique classes offered online, and home schooling. I think he misses the mark with his application of his theories about innovation to education.

I agree that education is ripe for disruption but I don't think it will come about because of technology.

I have come to the conclusion that education is an entirely human endeavor and not necessarily adaptable to the laws of commerce that so many business models encourage us to adopt. I think the future disruption that Christensen proposes will come about.... but only from and by the hand of teachers.

Teachers taking more and more leadership in the process of education would constitute a true innovation. Changes to education in the past have come from influences outside of education like technology. As teachers embrace their creative capacity as professionals they will push education past its current state to become another entity and that technology will only be the tool for that disruption.

Teachers are currently creating disruptions in areas like:
Dr. Christensen, you have made some excellent points in your book but I think that perhaps you might have committed the classic academic researcher's mistake by seeing what you were looking for and not necessarily the reality of the situation. Education will change but, it is the people who will change it, not the tools.

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At 12:04 PM, Blogger kerkatrob said...

John, I would never be surprised to find the following rallying cry coming from you: "Education will change, but it is the people who will change it, not the tools." I agree with you 100%. As Christensen began his book talking about how many ka-zillion of dollars have already been spent on acquiring hardware and software in schools, he recognized that it has not brought about a real change yet in education. It is not going to be what the ratio of students to computers at the end of the day. It will be the educators that determine how to teach the students.


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