“As knowledge becomes networked, the smartest person in the room isn’t the person standing at the front lecturing us, and isn’t the collective wisdom of those in the room. The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins the people and ideas in the room, and connects to those outside of it… Knowledge is becoming inextricable from – literally unthinkable without – the network that enables it.”From: Too Big to Know by David Weinberger
Last week, on April 8th, I contributed my first post for Ontario School and System Leaders Massive Open Online Community (OSSEMOOC) 30 days of learning event, and I received some push back about it. The concern was not about what I wrote, but that I did at all because I am not a school or system leader.
What this feedback highlights is the dark side of special programs and titles and reminds us of how narrow the learning might be when birds of a feather flock together.
If we agree that the smartest person in the room is the room; then opening up the room—flattening the walls between educational rooms (within K12 and between K12 and higher ed), if you will, can only make the room smarter.
This is my understanding about the online room. I am as smart as my PLN (and am I smart!). There is rarely a distinction made about title, rank, or level in this room. Rather, the bond that we have is our passion for education as a means of offering every student (of any age) the opportunity to have a happy, successful, satisfying, interesting—you pick the adjective—life, and our emerging understanding of the types of changes that education must make in order to realize this opportunity.
The learning with/from our PLN is the collegial conversation, the openness to ideas, the inquiry stance as we question back and forth, and the understanding of and the empathy toward risk-taking.
Following in the tradition of moocs like Education, Technology, and Media Massive Open Online Course (ETMOOC), OSSEMOOC has created a new space for educators to share their learning that is supportive, engaging, meaningful, timely, and inclusive.
And that thing about being a school and system leader?
Every teacher, in every building is a leader.