Thoughts from Buckminster Fuller

R. Buckminster Fuller“If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top . . . that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver, but this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings.”  - R. Buckminster Fuller

Reluctance to change has been in my (limited) experience one of the biggest hurdles to improving teaching and learning. It's not that people can't change. It's that they hold on to past practices while throwing in little bits of the new stuff. The result is that the new bits aren't utilized to their full transformative potential. Instead, the new bits are forced into the old mold, whether or not it makes sense for them to be there.

Several examples sprung to my mind as I read Bucky's quote.

  • Using laptops solely for word processing
  • Using presentation software (read: PowerPoint & Keynote) for overly text-y purposes
  • Using a blog or wiki just as another way to complete homework

While my thoughts tended to be focused on the implementation of technology into classrooms, the same ideas certainly could apply to non-tech related school issues. How often do we (as educators) turn to sound research when making curricular or structural decisions? Is it unrealistic for teachers to keep an eye on the literature?

Quote via The New Yorker via Treehugger
Image by sbisson via Flickr