Kodak, Blockbuster, R & D

Adapt or die...

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Blockbuster knew that Netflix was in the future, but an inflexible corporate structure didn't allow them to research and develop a competitive model. Kodak invested too little too late in digital media. It can be argued that our schools have a similar rigid structure that blocks invention and impedes response to change.

Instead of calling it Professional Development (a nebulous term for sure,) maybe we need to reframe the task as Academic Research and Development. Let's think of the task as a laboratory to create new ideas, an invitation to think outside the boundaries, and a chance to experiment.  This does borrow from the corporate world, but I think we need to recognize that our schools are in a competitive marketplace. We need to push the idea of creative collaborative change.  Failure is acceptable, as long as we try new things. The approach may be difficult, but these days if we rest on our laurels we may wake up one day to find ourselves in a Kodak moment (not a good thing.)  A flexibility of school internal structure would be needed to accommodate the time and infrastructure needed for such experimentation to take place.

Academic R & D as a way to quickly evolve and adjust to change. Adapt or die....


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Photo of John Faig

I like the idea of a laboratory to learn and understand academic trends (approaches and student trends).  The space could also be used for teachers to practice (and conduct research) in a mock classroom.  Best of all, the laboratory could be shared by multiple schools, which would both defray costs and increase collaboration.

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