Still in Colby, America as part of the iConnect UnConference. We’ve been having some great conversation about how we as educators can do our jobs better. The basic question has been – “What should schools look like and how can we work to make that vision happen?”

As the discussion starter this morning, we watched Sir Ken Robison’s 2006 TED talk titled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

Creativity is as important as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.

He goes on to say that the educational system trains kids to not take risks, a way of thinking that is seems to be exactly the opposite of what the world outside of K-12 education is looking for.

Children will take a chance – if they don’t know, they’ll have a go. But by the time they become adults, they’ve been educated out of their ability to try new things. We’re educating people out of their creativity.

We educate our children progressively from the waist up, then just the head, then just slightly to one side of the head. The world demands creative people and it seems as if the whole purpose of education is to produce university professors. There’s not anything necessarily wrong with university professors but they live inside their heads, slightly to one side. Their body is just something to get their heads to meetings!

We all agree with what Robinson says but have had lots of conversation about what we should do about it. Many of the conference participants teach and work in charter or virtual schools and so much of the discussion is focused on that particular niche. But enough “normal” classroom teachers are sprinkled around that we’re not finding consensus. That’s bugged some people.

But I’m becoming convinced not finding consensus is a good thing. Schools of the future (and the present!) should not look alike. The factory model doesn’t work anymore and it’s interesting that even as we’re trying to break out of that model, we’re still stuck in the rut of trying to fit everyone in the same set of parameters.

But all of us agree with Robinson:

We need a radical shift in how we define intelligence and need to rethink the fundamental ways that we’re educating our children.

And it’s been fun thinking about what that should look like! Check out the video and share your ideas.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY]