Disruption’s Changing Face?

By January 26, 2015 January 29th, 2015 2 Comments

Educators have always struggled to define the kinds of disruption that are beneficial to a school community and the kinds that aren’t.

For example, no one would argue that schools work well when students are allowed to be distracted, rude, unruly, or constantly questioning. But likewise no one can any longer argue that schools occupy a rarefied, erudite realm or that students should be seen and not heard, passive recipients of wisdom from on high.

Gone are the days, we are repeatedly told, of the “Sage on the Stage.”

They’re gone, we’re told, because of the biggest disrupter of them all: the internet and the advent of educational technology. In a nutshell, students don’t need teachers to bring knowledge to them in the same ways that they did in the past. They need their teachers to help them organize, process, and package the knowledge that is being stored not in our minds but online.

In light of this pedagogical shift and the resulting empowerment of students through technology, the word disruption has taken on a distinctly positive connotation.

Still, I wonder if the attention paid to the novelty of disruption in education — by and through the forces of technology — are being overstated. Education has always thrived in the light of shared knowledge and questioning winds. And disruption has always been interesting and jarring to the status quo.



Jessica is a doctoral candidate, education consultant, writer and editor. She is the founder of bookclique, a collaborative of English teachers and students working to promote book culture, and a co-founder of Well-Schooled, the site for educator storytelling, dedicated to sharing first-person educator stories. All Rights Reserved - What I Learned Today in School.


  • CYnthia says:

    I wholeheartedly agree, the idea that teachers will be replaced by technology is misguided and, in this age of disruption, the presence and passion of an individual teacher is more important than ever. I have yet to hear any of my children claim that their lives were changed by the ubiquitous presence of Utube or Instagram, or the learning tools Haiku and Quizlet. They become passionate about their education when relating an inspiring class discussion or a verbal interaction that impacted the way they think about the world and the content they read.

    • says:

      It’s true. Technology is many things but in the end, it is cold in the sense that we connect through it, not to it. Thanks, Cyn!!