by Natasha Juliana

Every week members and guests come together at WORK Petaluma for a coffee social. Since coworking is as much about sharing ideas as it is about sharing office space, the ensuing conversation is always lively and surprising. Here’s a peek inside…

So it started off crazy enough…talk of dynamite and guns- yes, useful and destructive. We could think of lots of positive ways to use dynamite but “here, kid, build a house with this gun” is not going to work- unless it’s a nail gun. Hmm…

Luckily we settled down and the conversation took a more civilized turn to the topic of the future of education. With the new common core standards on the horizon, California schools are jumping in and mixing it up. Most at the table applaud the new emphasis on critical thinking but those with a deeper understanding of the breadth of change are left wondering exactly how all of this will pan out over the next few years and whether or not these trends in education are just passing fads akin to the diet department? Every decade or two the ‘experts’ come out with a new plan. The best we can hope for is that with each passing cycle, a little kernel of truth is gained taking us a small step forward.

And then there is the issue of technology and its place in the classroom. Have we come full circle? The book Hamlet’s Blackberry tells a fascinating story of the history of communication and technology. When written language was first introduced, the great orators were up in arms! When I was in school, thanks to Gutenberg, the text book was king. But now, with easy access to online video, will the orator dominate again? There’s a lot of excitement about TED talks, flipped classrooms, Kahn Academy, and YouTube (is there anything you can’t find in a video out there?). But, as one coWORKer put it, it’s the craggy old teacher with the cool rock collection that sticks in our memory and inspires us to love geology.

Perhaps, as usual, the trick is finding the right balance. An engaged teacher in the classroom combined with deep digital information could just lead to a bright and exciting future for education.

Natasha Juliana is co-owner of WORK: Independent Modern Workspace  with her husband Matt. They live in Petaluma with their daughter, beagle, three chickens, and turtle. Curious about coWORKing? Contact Natasha and she’ll give you the low-down.