Wednesday, March 16, 2011

10 Implications To Consider Around What School Will Look Like in 2020

Over at ASCD’s Edge Walter McKenzie takes a look at how Andre Mamprin’s 6 Elements of  Knowledge Ecology Framework can inform the transformation of public education in the twenty-first century.  Mamprin has been studying organizational culture and knowledge management over the years, and he has developed this framework designed to transform top-down, hierarchical Industrial Age organizations to lean, informed, responsive organizations for the Information Age.

McKenzie offers these implications as we consider what school will look like by 2020.
Following some of his implications are my reactions.

  1. Public education shares a common vision nationwide
    • Does there really need to be a common vision for the nation, or could different education institutions have different visions?  What is the common vision you were thinking?  
  2. Schools become a network of personal learning communities
    • How are you envisioning a personal learning community?
  3. Trust and risk-taking are modeled by everyone
  4. District and building Leaders are facilitators of inquiry and innovation
  5. Teachers are process experts, not content experts
    • I love the idea of teachers as process experts but would perhaps change the title to learning facilitators and also, expand the idea of who the learning experts are.  They might be community members, students, experts who are skyped in or connected through webinars. It could be an OER class.  
  6. Mentoring takes place at all levels, free of age and grade labels
  7. Students and faculty use their own tools on an accessible campus network
    • I also love the idea of personally owned devices being allowed. I can’t believe districts like the one I work in ban kids from bringing digital devices to school. Our disconnected school environments are not preparing students for their connected world.  
  8. Students and faculty are free to pursue research based on insight
  9. Students and faculty create and publish new knowledge
    • Completely agree that students and faculty must be creating and publishing new knowledge.  This takes care of itself if we take this a step further and just say that there shouldn’t be a line between school life and real life.  If it’s not directly relevant for life (not someday, but today), stop wasting the time of our students.
  10. Public education is a clean, clear connection to college and career readiness
To read the whole post visit Walter McKenzie’s Knowledge - Diversity - Ecology.


  1. Thanks Lisa! The idea of a common vision helps us all have a consistent understanding as to what is expected of education regardless of the state or region in which you live. Personal Learning Communities = everyone sharing and collaborating across traditional boundaries at all levels. I had not seen your HuffPo piece on college but find it intriguing....and am totally open to that discussion!

    Thanks again,


  2. @Walter, I'm not sold on what the common vision would be and that everyone needs the same vision. Couldn't people have different visions of that they want for graduates.

    Re: Personal Learning Communities, what if they were sharing and collaborating across "nontraditional" boundaries?

    Look forward to your reaction to my college myth piece. Some interesting food for thought indeed.

  3. Lisa right now we have 50 different sets of expectations for education, and it depends on where you are lucky enough to live as to the quality of the education you receive. I think you're dead-on as far as people having different options in how it is delivered, but at the state/federal level we could do a lot more for kids if everyone was on the same page about what 21st century education looks like. Make sense?

    In my mind, the sharing and collaboration would be about the new knowledge students contribute online....knowledge valuable and real-world enough that organizations could actually interact with the new information students produce to their benefit! talk about authentic learning....for everyone involved! The boundaries have always been your schools, communities, states, age levels, grade levels, so many impediments....lift them all and let schools be global citizens! :)

  4. Interesting blog - the vision painted is compelling and I agree with the sentiments. Here in the UK, our new Government is taking us back to the 1950s with our eduction system in a rose-tinted, retrograde step. The scary thing is that most of Europe wants to copy us!
    A current hero is Sir Ken Robinson (see his RSA You Tube videos) who says much the same as Walter. I take a similar line about coaching & mentoring capability in my forthcoming book on being more employable.
    Just discovered you, Lisa, and retweeting you regularly - keep up the great work!


  5. @Walter, I guess I'm not seeing it. I don't know why education has to look the same for everyone. I mean if I think of various types of careers I see people taking very different paths to get there. An artist, a writer, a photographer, a scientist, and economist, a movie maker, a personal trainer, a geologist, an actor, a chef, a game designer. I don't see them all needing the same 21st century education.

    The only thing I see is that they should have the opportunity to pursue and follow their passions and not forced to take courses that someone else has decided should be the vision for their success.

    Am I missing something?

  6. You're very focused on unschooling - that's all! I'm looking at it as a former assistant superintendent who knows the flaws currently in public education. I can get a High School diploma in Massachusetts and have a very different education than I would receive if that diploma is awarded in Florida. Form a societal point of view, everyone deserves a common, quality educational experience to be prepared to be good citizens in a democratic republic.

  7. @Walter, no! no! no! Not just unschooling.

    What I'm looking at is that students/parents should have a variety of models/choices to choose the schools I wrote about in my post, "Want Passion (Not Just Data) to Drive Learning? There's a School for That!" at


    Hey Teacher! Leave Us Kids Alone!!!- There’s A School for That!

    I don't think everyone wants the same common education. I want something that's tailored to me which might look very different than what is best for others.

    And... a whole other topic is that there is very little in school that focuses on citizenship.

  8. Walter, you said "From a societal point of view, everyone deserves a common, quality educational experience to be prepared to be good citizens in a democratic republic."

    I can agree about this if we are talking about a "common shift in thinking" toward more freedom for students. But not if it means a more standardized curriculum, where everyone learns the same things at the same pace at every school in every state. Can you explain more about what you mean by a common experience?

  9. I began to write a comment, and realized I had more to say than I thought! I prepared a post that you can visit here:
    I linked back to this and the original article for maximum exposure. Thanks!

  10. I share Vickie's concern. The proposal screams of political partisan; which worries me.

  11. Vickie and Laurette and Lisa - sorry I am just getting back to this! A common experience meaning common outcomes in being ready to participate in a global society. Not necessarily locked into a scope and sequence, but nonetheless agreeing on those skills and experiences that help everyone to be productive and successful. Does that make sense?

    I can't really address any political concerns about the future of public ed. Education has always been an extension of the government in this country, and it will continue to evolve. What that looks like I'm not sure, and I'm open to discussion, but for my context I look at transforming education from its current reality which is a standardized, government-run enterprise. I think if you look at my ten implications, KE helps us move the discussion much more towards the kinds of education for which you all are advocating.

    And Lisa I didn't mean to sound as if I meant to single out unschooling - that's just the toughest one of the many ideas and I have discussed for me to wrap my mind around, so it came out first as an example! :)

  12. @Walter, I guess I can only agree on common outcomes if it takes the form of saying that each student will have an updated passion and talent profile and a personal plan on which to pursue the goals they (not an outside force) has laid out.

    What concerns me is telling everyone they need "x" number of years of various subjects. They don't. I wasted many years studying subjects I never cared about, needed, learned, or liked. When we focus on subjects rather than what drives students, we ultimately drive students to drop out or hate school...except for that minority who actually likes the stuff they learn in school.

    To unschooling, to me, it's more than a way to raise a child. It's a learning philosophy with proven success that has many lessons for how school should be offered.