A New Year Begins: Create or Consume?

create.gifI was just reading Wesley Fryer’s blog and he was commenting on the same podcast featuring Mitchell Resnick‘s keynote from BLC (Building Learning Communities) 2007 and again at NECC 2007

that I had just listened to a few weeks ago. It reinforced in me how important it is that we allow kids to create, not just interact with, and as Wesley puts it, consume. I think the temptation out there is to adopt the consumer model of education rather than the creative, constructive model of education because it is just so much easier to consume. And, as we all know, there is just so much out there to consume these days. I love how Dr. Resnick observes how historically, kindergarten has “gotten it right” because of the myriad of opportunities “to have creative learning experiences”. They are always designing, creating, negotiating, interacting… But, as learning becomes more “complex” in higher grades, we begin to leave a great deal of this behind to make room for knowledge consumption. There is just so much to learn and the curriculum continues to get compacted more and more. Pressures increase to recall knowledge. The catch to using new technologies effectively and powerfully is to retain these attributes of kindergarten learning and not just, as Larry Cuban would argue, simply digitize traditional modes of learning. Rather than simply graze the Internet and regurgitate what we find, we have so many new collaborative and creative tools to make learning creative, social, constructive, and meaningful. But to do so still requires the ability and desire to “think different” about teaching and learning. As I begin this new semester with my graduate class,and this, their only class on technology in education, I feel the imperative, more pressing than ever before, to help them discover new ways of reaching today’s students in more relevant and meaningful ways with the tools and ways of interacting that technology affords. Higher education really needs to have a fire lit underneath it as we continue to create teachers that are not properly equipped for the opportunities that are available to them and to their students. And, with pressures on even kindergarten to become more “academic”, what tentions we have to wrestle with in education! It is all so exciting and so frustrating at the same time.

Explore posts in the same categories: Change, higher education, Learning, pedagogy

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