Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Challenge of Change Management: Throwing Down the Gauntlet to Thought Leaders

I am throwing down the gauntlet to Bill & Melinda Gates(Gates Foundation), Sir Richard Branson(Virgin) and George Lucas (Edutopia, Lucas Foundation) and Michael Fullan(Canada) as some of the most important thought leaders in the area of innovation and education. Forgive me if I left your name out as I am not as well traveled as others.

When I survey all of the different education and innovation initiatives going on in the world, I can't help but think that we are all creating little niches in the enterprise of revolutionizing global education but what is it that binds us all together? What is the great unifying force that is driving us to reconcile the tsunami like forces of technological advancement, pedagogy, and change knowledge that is impacting on education across the globe? Is it possible that we might be working at cross purposes to an ultimate goal of delivering a rich, inspiring, challenging education to students who may be the chief innovators of a new culture of innovation in the near future?

Credit: CLUC

What is missing is a unified vision of global education that will harness all of our efforts. Just as in science fiction a vision of terraforming distant worlds to enable them to support human life has excited the imaginations of scientists and people in general, changing the landscape of education on a global scale requires leaders with a vision and courage to touch the future.

So what is the challenge? What is needed is a global summit on the "terraforming" of education that focuses on achieving, in real terms, a culture of innovation. Representatives of the major stakeholders need to be there. The majority stockholders who have the most at stake are students. Their voice must be heard and valued. Thought leaders such as Bill & Melinda Gates, Sir Richard Branson and George Lucas need to be there to listen to the thoughts, dreams and aspirations of the majority stockholders, young people. I challenge them to give as much attention and perhaps more to these voices as they do to those who are the heads of governments and industry. This is but a small step to break away from a model of education,the Industrial model, that may have served its purpose in its time but is now irrelevant and counter productive to what is developing quickly and is already on the horizon.

I want to be very clear that I am in no way suggesting that the excellent national and regional conferences that are already very much part of the educational life of many countries are not important. They are valuable and contribute much to ongoing developments in education. I am saying that in many societies, development in education is hindered by a systemic cynicism that passes on the attitude to students that there really is nothing in their future that they can aspire to that is greater than themselves.

Back to you, Bill, Melinda, Richard, George and Michael!

My next posting will continue to deal with how teachers in the new role as change agents can inspire a new generation of learners and can bring hope to learners of the present.

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