Imagine if Google were run along the same lines as our schools.
(1) When the employees arrived every morning they would go into a room with other employees born in the same year.
(2) They would have to register that they were there and then endure some period of sitting in silence or lounging around until the first bell rang.
(3) They’d then go into the room that their timetable had assigned them
(4) They might work in pairs, they might work in groups but often it would be on their own… hardly a computer in site and no mobile phones…THEY ARE BANNED!
(5) At the end of a set period of time they would hear the bell again and wander off down long crowded corridors to their next room and then the process would begin again.
(6) Break times would be set and timed and no rowdy play!
(7) Put your hand up and take a pass if you want to go to the toilet (bathroom)
(8) Lunchtime is a time for rowdy play, long lines for insufficiently interesting or nutritional meals and trying to get yourself heard in the canteen/kitchen/hall… or you can always bring a small lunchbox and eat your sandwiches and chocolate bars (carrots are preferred).
(9) The afternoon goes on forever and there are more rooms and bells… maybe you have no lunch and go to homework clubs and “extra-curricular” events (how to develop a new App/ datasets of the future).
(10) The day ends and you wander home and know that the next day will probably (inevitably) be just like the last one.
Now I know that this is all a bit far fetched… but do we ever really think that a cutting-edge company like Google could run like we run our schools? Surely we need their ideas of collaboration, creativity and empowerment of employees to happen in the schools where the next generation of Google/Apple/Microsoft employees will come from.
How about another thought… what if our schools were run like Google?
Apart from the differences between our British “S” and the American “Z” the actual term is a useful one to use when you consider the way that the web allows us a large degree of equality from many of the things that, face-to-face or on paper limits us, selects us, catalogues us, compartmentalises us……. puts us into convenient boxes.
As you read this post you are reading for the meaning of the text blissfully unaware (unless you know me personally or have looked up details about me) of my age, sexual orientation, race and creed.
On the web these important aspects of why I am me become all but invisible. This can certainly be considered as a positive thing. I was thinking the other day of something I was told about some students who had been labelled as underachieving. They were put into categories which said “slow”, “difficult”, “bad background” and “lazy”. The Principal of their school had a great idea, he would ask that all essays and project work would be handed in invisibly… no name just their work which was being looked at, as you are looking at this piece of work by your invisible writer.
The results were very interesting. Many of the labelled children were looked at as having useful things to say and good ways to say them. The teachers were looking at content not who wrote it and what they believed about the ability of the student.
Whenever a child succeeds “against the odds” we look on it as something of a minor miracle but actually it is often because someone has noticed their ability and encouraged them and not let the “boxes” get in the way. There is real potential in all children and it is up to us to help them find it and encourage that potential. It is not up to us to judge based on labels that have been created…. we need to look at the person not the box.