The best school in the world?

My local junior school is currently rethinking its vision. This isn’t an empty exercise – the school vision underpins everything that happens at the school, and is referred to on a daily basis.

We’re asking everyone in the school community ‘If this were the best school in the world – what would it be like?’ It’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer.

Last night I was at a workshop at the school, and one of our challenges was to produce an advertisement to persuade children to leave Hogwarts and attend our school. Despite its lamentable health and safety record, its ineffectual governing body, its sprinkling of incompetent staff and its lack of an effective anti-bullying policy, Hogwarts is widely regarded (according to Google) as the best school in the world – so writing the poster was a considerable challenge.

To help stimulate ideas and discussion, we showed a couple of videos from YouTube. ‘Shift Happens’ has been viewed over 4 million times in its original form, and has gained millions more views in its many remixed forms. The other video we watched, ‘A Vision of Students Today’, has had more than 2 million views. I see from the comments that schools and colleges all over the world are, like us, using these videos as discussion tools to help them plan for the future.

These two short, freely available, videos are helping to reshape education practice worldwide. How can we get our research and ideas out to as many people, and make it as influential as this?

by Rebecca Ferguson

About Rebecca

I am a research fellow at The Open University. My research interests focus on how people learn together online and in blended environments, and I have studied blogs, online conference and interaction in both Second Life and Teen Second Life.
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