Post-Permission Learning

by Shelly Blake-Plock

I failed my Excel test.

This was several years ago. Our principal had decided it would be a good idea for us all to start using Excel. So he had us take a test on our Excel aptitude.

I failed the test.

So I had to sit through a bunch of tutorials on the finer points of the program. Tutorials which came attached to another test to see if you had watched the tutorial.

I failed that, too.

Mind you, all of this — Excel, the tests, the tutorials — was costing the school money.

Finally I passed enough of the test that I didn't have to take any more tutorials. Or I just stopped taking the tutorials. I really don't remember. And with nary an exception, I haven't ever used Excel in my teaching work.

Now, that all went down back in the days of "Permission-based Technology". This was an era during which teachers were told what technology they had to use and billions of dollars were spent on office software, locked-down LMS services, and archaic security and monitoring systems.

Despite a lot of that technology still being around, and despite the fact that many teachers still find themselves in the position of being required to use it, by-and-large that era is over.

We now live in the Post-Permission era.

No one can tell you not to use LinkedIn. No one can keep you from running Class Dojo on your phone. No one can force you to manage your grades on an archaic system — though you may have to enter your grades on an archaic system ;)

No one can force you to attend or force you not to attend an Edcamp.

No one can limit your access to knowledge.

No one can keep you from blogging.

Sure, you can still get in trouble. But at least you can get in trouble on your own terms.

This is the Post-Permission era.

We build our own learning networks. We gather the resources that work for us. We make choices.

Or at least, we all can.

Whether or not we do is another matter.


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