Conditions for magic

Conditions for magic

Howard Rheingold declares teaching and learning goals for his Stanford class:

I want to create the conditions for the class as a whole to make something magical happen. I want students to take away from this course all the learning outcomes I explicitly describe, but I also want to achieve much more: I want to awaken those who have been lulled to semislumber by so many years of desks arrayed in rows and “will this be on the test?” — I want to awaken them to their own powers to use online tools and their thinking skills to not only cope, but to thrive in a world that requires continuous learning. I want to grow more aware along with my students. I want to model and facilitate exploration of and reflection about the impacts of our own media practices. I want to induce student teams to outdo each other in coming up with fun, thought-provoking, incisive, profound, ways to engage with the texts and ideas. I want to inspire so much interest in social media that students read all the required texts and even some of the recommended texts.

He takes risks and teaches this way because:

I’ve learned that if you try something larger than your capabilities, you’ve learned something about doing something big — even if you fail. If you succeed admirably at doing something that you know you can do, you’ve learned something about doing something small. There’s nothing wrong with doing small things well. But I’m here to help those who want to go for it. This century requires thinkers who know how to take on significant challenges.

Taken out of context, not a bad vow to adopt, to adapt, to lead, to move, to live.