This year, at the Famous Educause Conference in Anaheim, it was like deja-vu all over again.

The speaker, a boring man. The conferenceroom, packed. The air conditioning, freezing. On the screen a slide of a 1900 classroom next to a 2016 edition. They look essentially the same. People, chuckling. A soft click. A slide of a 1900 surgeryroom next to a surgeryroom from 2016. Followed by another slide. An old and a new factory hall. Robot arms and everything. They look – as you already know – totally different.

The point is clear. Society has changed dramatically but education has not! A teacher from the 1900’s will still recognize a classroom today. A 1900 surgeon will faint if he enters a modern surgeryroom. This is the problem, the speaker says. This is why education needs to change. Silence. John Kotter would have been proud. You can almost feel the sense of urgency in the room.

Look at the slides!

We need to change!


Sounds convincing, but you have this nagging feeling. A feeling that something just does not add up. And maybe, just maybe you are right. Maybe there is something wrong with this theory. You see, all those changes in the surgeryrooms and the factory halls and our society were mostly made by educated people. There is no significant third wave of uneducated, intelligent people that are changing our factory halls and surgeryrooms. There is no significant group of game changers that never went to school. No, the changes in our society are mostly made by the products of our never changing classrooms.

So education must be doing something right.

If you boil it down, the goal of education is to prepare people for a role in our society. To create people that help change our society into a better place. True, education mostly still does this by locking up people into never changing classrooms and tell them boring stories. But it is working, isn’t it? Working like a charm. Just look at all those changes in our society.

This makes reforming education a dangerous game.

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

So, let’s never change our education. Let’s build old classrooms. Let’s tell our students teacher-centered boring stories. Let them learn passively. Be textbook driven. Let’s bore our students to death. Imprison them in never changing loops. So when they finally are ready to be released into society they are really, really eager to change something.

A factory hall.

A surgeryroom.


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