EdTech types won’t stop banging on about disruption, about how they’re revolutionising education. It’s almost as if no-one has ever tried to rip up the model before.
So while the entrepreneurs congratulate themselves on their forward thinking, have a quick look at this British Pathe newsreel about The Strangest School in the World, in Burgess Hill in Sussex, England in the 1960s.
A rather doubtful narrator talks of how the headmaster (‘A Cambridge MA, so he should know what he’s talking about’) leads a staff who believe that ‘if you blind forbid children to do something, then they will certainly revolt’ and to ‘allow them to find out for themselves whether these conventions are good or bad’.
So, self-directed, personalised learning then, but driven by hipsters in the staffroom, allowing smoking because ‘it calms the nerves’.
So, which flipped/personalised/data-driven/hyper-mobile educational fad will look this dated in 30 years time?