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  • Heather Clayton Staker

4. Digitizing Classrooms

Updated: Mar 9


This week we're focusing on how to avoid creating a big TECH MESS in our schools and homes.


The problem arises when we layer technology onto our existing routines, rather than use technology to unlock new processes and possibilities. Katherine Mackey wrote a great summary of the problem in a Christensen Institute blog aptly named "Cramming."


There are two phrases that alert me immediately to an impending cram:

"Let's digitize our classrooms!" and

"Let's implement technology!"

To me both of those phrases are shorthand for "do not vote for this education project" or "do not contribute to this school fundraiser."


In this week's podcast, Digitizing Classrooms, I discuss the phenomenon of cramming, how it causes waste and frustration, and how to do the opposite of cram as we equip children with computers.


To go along with the podcast, the following links connect you to positive examples of entrepreneurial leaders who are carving out new processes for learning rather than defaulting to a cramming behavior:


Slope.School, with disruptive leader Matthew Clayton, alongside over 100 fellow Acton Academy owners

LEAP Innovations, with disruptive leader Phyllis Lockett

Next Generation Learning Challenges grantees, with over 100 disruptive grantees

Raising Blended Learners grantees, with 15 demonstration districts and charters

Silicon Schools, with over 40 disruptive leaders

New Schools Venture Fund, with over 150 disruptive school leaders

Summit Public Schools, with disruptive leader Diane Tavenner

Blended Learning Universe sites, with hundreds of school leaders

Fuse Fellows of Rhode Island, with hundreds of disruptive leaders


This list is only a beginning. Thousands of other people are working at this moment to reimagine teaching and learning for the 21st century. To succeed, they need to deploy a new model and find a leader who is not wed to the factory-style classroom.


Hope you enjoy the podcast!