Parents who know nothing other than the stand and deliver approach to education from their youth want the security of knowing "what's going on". They fear what they don't know and don't understand, as evidenced by this statement: “Our students don’t need to be a part of a classroom experiment with all this technology stuff. They need to have a real teacher with real textbooks and real tests.”
I love the comment from teacher-librarian Dianne McKenzie from Hong Kong who "translates" the parent statement for us:
“Our students don’t need to be engaged in their learning with all this technology stuff. They need to have a really boring teacher with really boring textbooks and really bad tests that do not help to demonstrate learning has taken place.”
Who will be the first to complain when they leave school that the students were not prepared for the real world?
McKenzie's blog is called Library Grits. She chose 'grits' because it is 'suggestive of being plural rather than singular - reflective of the multitasking and thinking we need to do'.
Dianne also includes the synonyms for the noun Grit: Courage, determination, backbone, daring, doggedness, fortitude, guts, hardihood, intestinal fortitude, mettle, moxie, nerve, perseverance, pluck, resolution, spine, spirit, spunk, steadfastness, tenacity, toughness, bravery and firmness. These are surely the qualities we need as educators to move forward.
Thankfully, our large public high school was able to push on and successfully implement an integrated studies program without textbooks, using classroom technologies, collaborative learning, and social media to prepare students for the real-world. See our "Integrated Global Studies" school-within-a-school, as a model of what can be done with enough spunk and grit. Kudos to teachers Colby Vargas, Jeff Markham, and Tracy Smith for bringing our vision into reality.