Laptops for every student won't do it. Teachers with great ICT knowledge won't do it. Revolution is more complicated than that, I believe.
So yeah, something has gone awfully wrong along the way. Outside the buildings we call school the world change rapidly from each day to another, but as soon as you enter a school and take your first step you will be welcomed by the same old concrete walls and floors, the same old dust and air and, worst of all - the same old pedagogy, teachers and thinking. Okay, hang on, don't scream at me yet. I know that there are plenty of young new teachers in our schools who weren't here 50 years ago, but that's not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is in the walls. It's still there. In the walls. And that have to change.
You're 20 years old. You start your teacher training at a university, full of ideas and inspiration. "This will be awesome!", you think. The first thing you realize is:
- the teachers who are put to train and educate the next generation of teachers take great pride in having been a university professor or teacher for 30 years and therefor are incredibly skilled and awesome and perfect for training teachers.
There are so many things that are wrong with this and this is also a reason why nothing has changed during these 50 years. The longer time you have been away from the things you are put to teach about -in this case kids today and how they work, think, are like and learn - the less you know about what you're actually are put to prepare your teacher students for. Even a four year old can see there's something wrong with this.
The next thing you realize is that the theories of education, learning and thinking are based on long time dead European bearded (?) men. You realize that it is not only in our schools time has stood still, it is also in our brains. Our society, our way of living, the technology, the all kinds of development we see around us, well if we decide to listen to Piaget and Vygotskij (every single professor at the Faculty for Education at any university seem to have these lads as some kind of rock star heroes, having posters of them in their offices). Now 50 years ago it may have worked, but then again we didn't have smartphones, XBoxes, World of Warcraft, 1094 new diagnoses to give our students who functions in a way we don't like, the Internet, Segways or Lady Gaga. Sure all these things and more must have changed us in a way that also affects our brains and the way we learn, comprehend and see the world around us. I'd be darned if I am wrong. But hey, I am no professor. The only poster on my wall is one of the green Android robot peeing on an Apple.
Five or six years later you are ready to go out and start your awesome teacher career. Well, those of you who haven't been put off during your long weeks of field studies, practical teacher training at schools and the realization that Swedish teachers are among the lowest paid teachers in the western hemisphere. Those few heroes coming out on the other side walk right in to Swedish school which are now, 2012, celebrating 50 years of no change at all (yes, I am bitter, so sue me). If you were full of energy and fighting spirit and ideas on how to revolutionize school and education, you are most likely to be put back on earth within the first month. You see, change is dangerous in school and even if you manage to get a few of your colleagues backing you up, you won't get any money to get you started. Change may happen if it's free.
So, how do we revolutionize education and school? I honestly don't know how we should do it nationally or even globally. What I do know is that there are teachers who are already doing it, but pretty much on their own. Alone. These teachers are the ones to lead and guide the rest of us. But the problem is, and it is a serious problem: as long as there are teachers, politicians, administrators - you name it- who actually don't believe a change or revolution is needed, these teachers will continue work in solitude.
What I am saying is that we cannot revolutionize school and education without starting with the ideas. And the ideas are many:
- the idea of socialization
- the idea of learning
- the idea of our future
- the idea of prioritizing
- the idea of treating people
- the idea of equality between sexes, skin color, nationalities, religion, social class etc.
...the list is long.
The ideas that actually form our society, our values, must be taken seriously, re-thought, developed and from that, we can start moving towards a change. But the problem still persist - there will always be people, important people in important positions, who think differently. I don't think it is as easy as to say "we need to start with 1 student-1 laptop". It is not as easy to bring computers into every classroom.
In order to have a better school it is not as easy as start computerizing everything. A laptop or a computer won't do it. Alone. We have to change the way we see education and how we prioritize our money. We must give those who know and have the enthusiasm to change a chance to do it and support them.
Do I believe it will ever happen? Do you want the truth? No, I don't. Simply because we don't agree, have the same values or ideas. Simply because it won't matter how passionate about my students and their education and development I might be, it is not enough. And I blame politicians, I blame the universities who are put to educate next generation of teachers, I blame society who put our young ones further down the list of prioritization, I blame my colleagues who have given up and let it happen...
No, I am not really bitter. Bitterness is after all perhaps the biggest obstacle that prevents change.