Disrupting Class



I don't read very many books about education, and when I do I am often disappointed.  There are too many snake-oil salesmen offering simplistic solutions.

"Disrupting Class" by Clayton M. Christensen is different.  It provides the perfect balance between moments of "yes - that's what I think", "oh wow, I hadn't thought of that, but it makes sense" and "hmm, not sure about that at all."

The central tenet of the book is that the success of schools has been measured in many different ways, and that the transformations required to succeed in terms of these successive measures require disruptions the magnitude of which would kill any business - to be replaced by new businesses that introduce disruptive innovations.

Christensen argues that every disruptive innovation in business begins by selling to non-consumers of the current product.  Apple began by selling their personal computers to children, whereas DEC were selliing mainframes to huge corporate clients.  Disruptive innovation has to start in this way, because in the early days the disruptive product is not as good as the established one!

The parallels with innovation in education are obvious.  We are able to be innovative much more easily in settings where our customers are currently not consuming.  This has definitely been the case for me, where I have felt much more free to try innovative approaches with classes that have histories of low achievement and low motivation - classes in which many pupils are simply not consuming the education on offer.

I haven't finished the book, but am having trouble putting it down!

As usual, I came across this book via my personal learning network - @alexragone on twitter to be precise.  Thanks Alex :-)

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