Stop Lying

James Bridle has been killing it recently with a series of seven posts about the future. My favourite, by miles, is part three entitled "Stop Lying About What You Do".

I could quote the series endlessly, and you should read it all, but let me pull four paragraphs:

"We prejudge endlessly. Because we have not experienced the emotions that new technologies trigger we assume that they will be less powerful than the emotions we already know. Just because we haven’t had these feelings yet. I love books. But I know that ereading will inspire a whole new range of responses to the written word and I want these too."

We have not experienced the emotions that come from technology helping children overcome barriers and better themselves. We have not yet experienced, widely, in schools the feelings of satisfaction, validation, challenge and connection that we get from sharing our ideas broadly across the world.

"I read with continuous partial attention and I don’t care that I am frequently interrupting my own reading. I despise the discourse that says we are all shallow, that we are all flighty, distracted, not paying attention. I am paying attention, but I am paying attention to everything, and even if my knowledge is fragmented and hard to synthesise it is wider, and it plays in a vaster sphere, than any knowledge that has gone before."

"My knowledge is fragmented and hard to synthesise". I immediately thought of the challenges of assessing pupils' learning under a system like Curriculum for Excellence. Learning and knowledge can't be reduced to a letter between A and C that fits into a spreadsheet.

"I go through cycles of belief about the future of writing, of publishing, of the written word. But too much is broken to continue to pretend that the models we have become used to, the models of sales and distribution, of composition and recompense, of form and style, of reading and attention, can stagger on much longer."

Too much is broken to continue to pretend that the models we have become used to, the models of classroom management, of teaching, of assessment, of accreditation of learning, can stagger on much longer.

"This is the world we are living in and we can either lie to ourselves about it or we can dive headlong into the new forms and effects that it produces."

This. A thousand times this.