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Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Educational Ecosystem



I spent all night Tuesday "advising" my fourth grade daughter on her 3-D ecosystem montage. I contemplated the consumers, producers, and decomposers as I blistered my fingers with hotglue and stuck them together with spray adhesive.

The next day, I was listening to the podcast that I mentioned in my blog on mashups, Inside the Net Version 13 podcast.

In the podcast, Michael Arrington of Techcrunch said something very profound. It went something like this:

Web sites need to learn they are not stand alone entities any more but rather part of a larger technological ecosystem.
I felt my knowledge base morph as I took in the meaning!

The Educational Ecosystem
Educators need to learn that they are not managing stand alone classrooms but rather, are part of a larger educational ecosystem.
My best professor in college taught us the information conversion process. He stressed that knowledge is not in individual compartments but rather should be correlated with what we already know to create a complete knowledge base of interconnected ideas. No subject exists in vacuum.

The Ecosystem of Knowledge

Computer science intersects with History as we know that Sputnick triggered many events that led up to the Internet. As I teach binary numbers, mathematics comes into play. As we discuss cooling processors, chemistry comes into play. As they form opinions on computer ethical issues, writing enters the picture. As they present concepts before the class, here comes public speaking.

It is widely recognized that the best way to improve writing scores is not to have a writing class. It is to write across all content areas, even math.

The Evolution of the Educational Ecosystem


But the educational ecosystem is now more than cross teaching of subjects. The educational ecosystem has begun to encompass this "global conversation" in the blogosphere.

I believe that we can experience greater synergies as we move to a global educational ecosystem. Sharing ideas is just part of this. Commenting on blogs, viewing how other teachers are teaching and allowing classrooms to interact from around the world are other ways. These are some great things that will happen as we move from the once stand-alone one room school houses to a globally-connected classroom.

The educational ecosystem! The question you must ask yourself today is are you joining in the ecosystem? Are you acting as a stand alone classroom.

"No man is an island." I would say "no classroom is an island."

Think about it!

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