Creeping Incrementalism

George Siemens, always an interesting read, points to an article by Mark Nichols on “Learning 2.0” and remarks:

“Mark suggests we don’t need as broad a change model as some have suggested and that educational reform is best handled by including web 2.0 concepts and tools under the broad umbrella of social constructivism and some degree of centralized control and hierarchy”

That would be an easier pill to swallow if this were the first attempt at educational reform. But surveying the countless and largely ineffectual (did I really use that word twice in two posts?) attempts at reform by well-intentioned educators forces me to ask what this kind of incrementalism has done for us so far?

This relates to my last entry; whether we want to acknowledge it or not, those who are serious about school reform are at war with both entrenched institutions and an even more insidious enemy: the economic power of an entertainment ideoplex that– despite all the talk of Web 2.0 and the Read/Write Web– has zero interest in authentic engagement or learning.

In this war, it is hard to distinguish between approaches of accommodation and what is essentially appeasement. How do we want to be remembered when the history of this war is written: as a Winston Churchill or a Neville Chamberlain? Pacifist, collaborator, or resister?


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