If you haven’t had a chance to browse over to Students 2.0, you really need to check it out.

We are students: the ones who come to school every day, raise our hands with safe questions, and keep our heads down. Except, now we have a voice—a strong voice—to share our ideas through a global network.

As educators we spend a lot of time and effort trying to connect with one another – what are the best brain-based strategies, what resources, which web sites, aligning curriculum to state standards and classroom management ideas.

But we don’t often actually talk to our customers.

Our students have some definite opinions about the process and, based on those posted by the authors at Students 2.0, many of them are pretty good. Recent posts have focused on such topics as plagiarism, unrealistic expectations for college-bound HS kids and 21st Century creativity.

Arthus Erea recently wrote on what he calls “Amateur Education.”

One by one, we file past the teacher-turned-prison-guard. As each of us passed, she engages us in a confirmation ritual. “Work?” “Check.” “Book?” “Check.” That is the last word uttered for one and a half hours. For this period, we must sit silently with heads in books and work, where our mouths are conveniently positioned to be incapable of questioning.

Arthus continues in his post describing the present educational system as one that spends much of its energy working to find ways to get kids to enjoy school.

Complicated assessment patterns are devised to be carrots for students to do their work. Meanwhile, sticks of punishment are given to those who do not do their job.

We are widgets in the machine of school.

But he continues and says that type of system doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.

. . . students are treated as if they already do hate learning. Grades, forced study times, detentions, and graduation requirements are all safeguards built to force students into learning . . . By treating students as if we hate and will avoid learning at all costs, we will hate and avoid learning at all costs.

Arthus spends some time describing a system he calls “amateur learning” that sounds a lot like the Turning Point Learning Center charter school that I was able to visit earlier this week. Lots of choices, independent study, group work, lots of available resources and some freedom to screw now and again.

Schools must make a choice: do they want to try to stuff as much learning as possible down students’ throats or do they want to give students a hunger for learning?

I don’t want to be a professional student; I want to be an amateur learner.

Some very cool stuff over at Student 2.0. Don’t miss out on what they’re saying.