Connecting the Dots

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I heard an interesting new phrase the other day that someone used to describe the shift we need in schools.

She said “We have to move from collecting dots to connecting dots.”

I think that works.

So much of school is collection. It’s about delivering easily digestible pieces of content that we can then assess to see if they’ve been collected correctly. The calculus is the more dots we collect the better, even though we know that most of those dots don’t end up in any type of permanent collection.

Connecting the dots would require a different approach, especially because in a complex world, connections are rarely neat. Connecting dots would mean that we emphasize exploration, hypothesizing, testing, reflecting, and exploring some more. It would mean a culture of questions, not answers.

Obviously, those things aren’t “deliverables.” We observe those things, not test for them.

To be sure, connections are permanent either. And we obviously need some dots to connect. But dots collected without some sense of connection don’t lead to much real learning at all.

The bigger question is are we connecting the dots we’ve collected about school?

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