Sunday, February 3, 2013

You don't have to like it

There's a lot being written (and read) about education, technology, and change.   When you brush aside the details and posturing, most of what is being written is about how technology is changing education in ways that we won't be able to undo any time soon.  And when I think about the changes, I think about a Jerry Lewis movie from 1960.

Cinderfella is not a particularly good movie taken as whole cloth, but it has some delightful pieces.  One of those is Count Basie's music and Count Basie himself.  Another is Jerry Lewis' humor, including the physicality rarely seen in comedy today.  And the reason I think of this movie when I think about changes in education is where Basie's music and Lewis' comedy meet.

Near the end of the movie, Jerry Lewis dances with Anna Maria Alberghetti.  If you've never seen the movie (which is highly likely), it will suffice to say that the dance is that romantic moment in a romantic comedy when the magic happens. Dancing to The Count Basie Orchestra directed by Count Basie (you actually get to see the Count and his orchestra), there is a moment when Lewis brings Alberghetti to a standstill, carefully arranges a fold in her lovely gown just so, motions for her to stand where she is, then dances an exuberant and absurdly comic jig around her.  Twice.  And THAT is the moment that captures what is happening in education.

The force and magnitude of the changes being wrought in education are of the size and scale of both the printing press and the technology that has all but replaced the printing industry.  And, much as we may love the status quo, expecting it to stay the way it is while we dance our respective jigs around it is about as silly as the comedy for which Jerry Lewis is known.

The changes are already happening.  And whether we like them or not is less relevant than whether we will be active participants or passive resisters.  I'll let you in on a little secret here:  I'm not a big fan of sweeping change, especially when I like something just the way it is.  But I like even less having the change(s) decided and imposed by others.

I'm learning new dance steps and finding new partners.

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