Across the globe we are seeing the rise of new models of what it means to be a modern, networked organisation - and at its heart is a shift from hierarchical structures to networks. A networked organisation is one that understands two key ideas: that each person within that organisation can make a personal contribution to the evolution of the organisation. Secondly, that the organisation itself is part of a global set of connections, groups and individuals, able to communicate with anyone and make visible its work.
The driving influences of this trend include a growing understanding that single, top-down systems cannot cater for diversity as well as greater appreciation for what motivates people to learn. We are familiar by now with the discourse around learner-driven, personalised structures. The evolution of digital and mobile technologies that privilege sharing, worldwide connectivity and personal knowledge creation also drive the idea of organisations as networks, rather than hierarchies.
For educators, the challenge is to reimagine what learning at student, whole school and national/system levels might look like if they are designed around the individual. Schools are considering how can they can have greater transparency for their work with their communities and with other schools. Curriculum and pedagogy, learning environments and whole school strategy can begin to look quite different if learners are in the driving seat and if each member of the community is seen as part of a networked eco-system.
In New Zealand, we can see this trend emerging in new views on curriculum design and reimagined schooling environments that aim to cater to diverse contexts for learning. The concept of staff as a network is seen in the shared leadership across the staff at schools like Hobsonville Point Sec School and the design of collaborative spaces such as those at Roxborough Area School. The emergence of grassroots driven PD, such as #edchat and #cenz14 reflects the demand of the individual to drive their own learning, rather than have it mandated. Schools under IES and networks like Manaiakalani are exploring what it means to be networked community learning hubs.