Hi All,
Some of you have heard me complain about how standards efforts, like the
NGSS, are akin to rewriting users' manuals while believing that it's
creating new operating systems for education. Suddenly, we have set aside
the centuries-old operating system of the educational system and need to
create a new one on the fly.

While this is very stressful and connected to a tragedy of epic and as yet
uncertain proportions, it's also incredibly exciting. We have the
opportunity (and responsibility) to make something new. It has the
potential to repurpose the incredible human resources we have in the
teaching force across the entire system, and to unshackle those of us who
have felt constrained by the tyranny of course, calendar and clock.

It is a disturbance to the ecosystems of education that none of us have
seen in our lifetimes, and we can learn lessons from how disturbances
change ecosystem.

Seeing educational systems as ecosystems provides a raft of new insights
about how the systems operate and how we might influence their evolution.
Two inter-related aspects are the importance of initial conditions and
first cover. “Initial conditions” refers to the status of the individual
agents and the environment at the beginning of some process. “First cover”
refers to the practices, species or agents that take root first after

Disturbance in an ecosystem (by fire, for example) can reset initial
conditions. After an area is denuded the first species to take root will
often dominate the landscape (for a time) regardless of measures of
efficiency of the species in the niche. Sometimes, in other words, it is
not survival of the fittest, but rather survival of something that more or
less fits but was there first. This is not meant to imply that competition
is unimportant, but rather that species that move into a system first have
strong competitive advantages over whatever may come along later.

In ecosystems and edusystems, competition plays out on multiple scales in
both time and space. When change in a system is inhibited, this does not
imply the absence of competition, rather it is an aspect of competition: “…
no species necessarily has a competitive superiority over another.
Whichever colonizes the site first holds it against all comers” (Connell
and Slatyer 1977, p. 1138). A competitive advantage that comes from taking
control first is hardly unique to ecosystems or educational systems.
Gaining initial control is an advantage in ecosystems, edusystems,
battlefields and basketball. But it doesn’t mean the game is over in any of
those situations.

That moving in first is why I'm doing this session sort of on the fly - an
initial condition I would like to help set is the consideration of what we
do tomorrow and next week may have implications for years or decades to
come. I don't claim to have durable solutions, but I want to plant the idea
that the changes we make now should be made with an eye to long-term
changes in the educational system.

That's some of what we'll talk about tonight. A little more info is here: (the full non-bitly link is here
I've not set up any sort of registration, just a Zoom link:

A Sumerian classroom from c. 2,000 BCE  (Cole, 2005)

Images of classrooms of 1916 and 2016 mesh seamlessly (Murray, 2016)

Classrooms of 2020 look strikingly like those of centuries and millennia
ago. Perhaps a 4,000 year old design has limited educational power.
Suddenly, this structure has been abandoned.

Grab a drink of your choice and join us for a whirlwind discussion of
educational change drawing from understandings of ecosystems, innovations
research, and the history of education.

These are days we will remember for the rest of our lives. Let’s get them

[image: Reinventing Education.001.jpeg]
Of course, I'm flying by the seat of my pants and have never tried anything
quite like this, so bear with me on any technical issues.

Cheers, and see you tonight, if you're so inclined,

[image:] <>
Don Haas, Ph.D. (He, Him, His)
Director of Teacher Programming
The Paleontological Research Institution, its Museum of the Earth & Cayuga
Nature Center
1259 Trumansburg Road • Ithaca, NY 14850 •

*cell: (315) 790-8569*
*My job is to help Earth & environmental educators kick butt at their jobs.
Here are some links related to how my colleagues and I are doing that:*

   - PRI is a 2019 winner of the National Center for Science Education's Friend
   of the Planet Award!
   - About that 2x4... (in the news
   (for the classroom
   <> or
   just to learn more for yourself!)
   - It's too late. Let's get to work anyway. (essay
   <>) (video
   - *Teacher-Friendly Guides to Earth Science of the United States
   <> - *a set of seven regional
   guides that collectively cover the entire US and *The Teacher-Friendly
   Guide to Climate Change* <>
   - On virtual fieldwork in the Critical Zone
   - Video of my May 2019 talk, "Fire & Brimstone & Fort McMurray:
   Considering the Implications of Apocalyptic Rhetoric in Climate Change
   Communication <>”
   - Explore the Critical Zone <>
   (6 and a half-minute video)