Building Relationships to Change Society

In August of 2004, Dr. Laurie Bassi of McBassi & Company met with a group of teacher from the new Bluffton High School (SC) which I was a part of. During a break Dr. Bassi told me the factors of production have changed to reflect a service based economy. The new factors of productions are Land, Human Capital, and Relational Capital. This stayed with me and I used them in an honors economics class I taught. Today I heard Clarence Fisher talk about how education will be built on relationships with no regard to geography in his keynote address for the K12 Online Conference. This will be very important as the walls of classrooms are torn down bit by bit as technology progresses.

I see this happening in two ways. First, students with specific educational needs will be matched with teachers who can meet those needs regardless of physical proximity. Technology will bring the two together. Virtual schools are just the beginning of this trend. Next will come classrooms where a teacher might only be teaching half of the students in the room. The rest of the students will interact with the teacher via distance learning. The group of students who are not working with the physical teacher will be working with another teacher at another school. Second, as teachers and students search for new experiences, they will build relationships with groups of students and teachers from anywhere in the world.

Mr. Fisher mentioned something else that interested me. He said society will have to change for our classrooms to change from the current model of rows of desks with the teacher at the front. Fisher sees classrooms becoming more like studios where there will many different activities going on at once managed by the teacher. This classroom will be noisy and chaotic which current administrators and teachers will have a hard time with. Will society change? Absolutely! Society is already changing as digital natives are moving into adulthood and going to work. Blogs, wikis, social networks, and other Web 2.0 applications are finding their way into business. Eventually, this way of thinking will find its way into education but education moves very slow. It will take time for the changing of the guard to effect the total change in education as digital immigrants will inevitably move out and pass the torch to the new generations.