Evolve or Dissolve #EruptiveAction

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 11.31.42 amOur (high school) graduating class of 2014 started prep in 2001.  You don’t need me to tell you that 13 years ago, the world was a very different place. Indeed as our graduating class were kissing goodbye to their parents for their first day at school, Steve Jobs and co were launching the iPod.

No not the iPad or iPhone, that’s right… the iPod!  Interestingly, Apple recently announced they are not making them anymore.  So if you happen to still have one of those little babies, hang onto it, it’s a relic!

But how does teaching compare from then until now?

How do schools compare from then until now?

How does education in general compare from then until now?

I have my answers.

Let’s take a wee peek at some of the revolutions in life, and interesting developments since our preps of 2001 became the class of 2014;

  • Phones now cameras built in
  • iTunes was created
  • YouTube has been invented
  • The iPhone has come into the world
  • The list goes on, click here for a further walk down memory lane.

*Credit -daily infographic

So, it begs the question.

For what future are we preparing next year’s preps? And I don’t mean what are we talking about doing, I mean what are we actually DOING.

In general terms education and schools haven’t (really) changed in the 150 years they have existed.

(rant warning…)

Oh, hang on. I apologise. We do paint the classrooms every year and order new stationary.  And I have to concede also that some schools have ICT and mobile devices, most of which are used to substitute new ways of doing the same old things.

We have been able to expertly substitute the worksheet for a “game”, which is wonderful because it cuts down on marking, keeps the kids busy (and quiet) and the cherry on the top- it has flashing lights.

The result is that we are “churning out” kids along a conveyor belt ready for an industrial age which has passed us by.

Actually, Eric Hoffer said it better;

LearNED quote

(ok…rant over)

So to the action.

Seth Godin, Ken Robinson and a host of others have talked a great deal about the problem (you can add my above rant to theirs, albeit less articulate).

Godin actually said about the possible solutions “I’m in the compass business, not the map business.”

Well who is in the bloody map business then? Because words without action will lead us to the same fate as blockbuster video.  Actually, I would say we’re lucky schooling as a whole can’t go out of business.

My answer…us.  That’s right the teachers.

I’m calling on ‘the insiders’ to engage in some #EruptiveAction.


I have created this concept from the philosophy of disruptive thinking, but have modified the term to hopefully force our ideas to become more actionable.

Like a volcano, it’s not a news story if a volcano “might erupt one day”.  It’s a news story when it does.

I would like you to share with me via comments below or any other social media platform the stories or links to ways in which teachers (the lone nuts), students, schools, districts or education systems are doing things differently. Tag items with #EruptiveAction

I will collect and compile a list of success stories to help all of us (myself included) push for, and take, action in our school communities.

I will then store and share all #EruptiveAction stories with our global community.

Perhaps together we can start a 10x movement from within.

Thank you for reading and thank you in advance for sharing.


4 thoughts on “Evolve or Dissolve #EruptiveAction

  1. A really interesting read Rosco. To think that I personally began my teaching career 13 years ago and have lived through the above changes. In 13 years I have evolved from using a chalkboard to a whiteboard to IWBs and now smart TVs linked to mobile devices. Believe it or not I also used and overhead projector with slides in my first few years of teaching. But as you indicated, not much has really changed in the way we go about teaching. Schools are using technology more but for what purpose? I have heard many leaders in schools over the years say “We need to find ways to integrate technology into our programs”, rather the statement should read something like…”How can we improve teaching and learning and can new technology support this?”

    In response to your question about ‘Eruptive Action’. I am starting to see more and more the power of social media and how it can support learning. The concept of students collaborating and learning from each other is not new but with the power of social media and the vast technology available today their is so much scope for students and learning communities to collaborate with others from all over the globe. I still remember only 8 years ago using “pen pals” to communicate with students from another school. My how times have changed!

    Recently I have been involved with a project developed and coordinated by Anthony Coe @anthonycoe3116 called the Global Schools Crossfit Challenge. In a nut shell it is a competition where schools compete against each other in the sport of Crossfit. Schools from all over Australia are involved. Each school on a rotational basis creates a challenge of the week for all students to complete and points are allocated etc. Such a program would not have been possible 10 years ago.
    – Teachers communicate via a closed Facebook group.
    – Videos are uploaded to YouTube.
    – Scoring and other info is published using a shared google doc.
    I believe the real benefit of this program is the way students are learning from each other. The students create the challenge, not the teachers and the challenge is therefore more authentic. My students are keen to complete a challenge that has been developed by other students, rather than me just saying “Hey, this is what we are doing today”.

  2. Ross, have been thinking about this all weekend and I’m finding it hard to list ‘new’ and ‘different’ ideas I use in PE. My reason for this is most of the new ideas I try in lessons are concepts or methods that are pretty commonplace in the #physed twitter community, but to the non-twitter physed community not so much.
    Something as simple as allowing boys to stand and ‘mingle’ at the start of a lesson(waiting for others to get changed), while others expect silence and stillness to ensure students are ‘focussed’ while they call the roll. This is something I have learnt from Andy Vasily, after reading a blog post, where he stated boys have an extra energy that needs to be released, and having them sitting still can be agonising.
    A few months back I was able to connect with some great PE teachers from Tasmania and New Zealand and hold a 7 min-run competition. Using a shared google sheet and an ipad, we could enter student run distances, automatically calculate class total and compare results in a table. I feel this kind of international classroom collaboration is an example of students being intrinsically motivated in a way not possible a few years back, and can turn a good PE program into one which is rich with real life learning opportunities and experiences.
    I look forward to reading more #eruptiveaction stories this coming week!


    Blake (@mrkampen)

  3. Hi Ross,

    You are very right for a large part and the fact that our subject PE has been sold terribly in the past by our educators (definitely so in my case!) makes me determined to changed it and get it right!
    In my opinion the IBO with in particular the PYP has got it figured out. We educate and prepare students for an unknown future and therefore teaching must be concept based and interdisciplinary. I fully believe and support the 5 elements of the PYP and when planning (backward) I focus on these 5 elements: knowledge, skills, understanding, attitudes and action! Whether your school is a PYP school or not, the first thing teaches should do is teach conceptually and interdisciplinary.

    I use ICT a lot but in the end it is a tool and not a philosophy or vision! With so many things it depends how you use, where, when or with who! ICT can support and brings the real world of our students and education closer together which, if done well supports various learning styles.

    What is changing education in a good way is the maker movement, which certainly thinks in Action!

    Let’s stay in contact!

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