Who Needs More Help?

This morning I read an article from the HeraldNews online titled, Future of education on display at school. It writes about how a laptop program has ‘transformed’ teaching and learning at this parochial girls’ school. It describes how students are benefitting from greater on-demand access to information, are taking notes digitally from text projected on a screen, how teachers are able to cover curriculum more quickly, and how math and science instruction is benefitting from 3-D modeling and virtual manipulation. The report also discusses how student engagement and enthusiasm have increased and does not deny the presence of a few distractions due to the new tool. As I read the article I acknowledged that these are all typical observations from a budding laptop program and that nothing really revolutionary in terms of learning was going on. However, students and teachers alike go through stages of adoption (at different speeds, no doubt) and one cannot expect radical transformations in learning overnight. But, the real kicker though was that there was the conception that having laptops and being able to access content online was the “future of education”. That’s where I let out a frustrated sigh. It is still about being good information consumers (important nonetheless). The article concludes with this quotation from an individual not connected with the school:

“The goal is for students to really recognize that you’re in an ongoing conversation with people all over the world … and then to contribute their own ideas to that conversation.”

Yes, Bravo! But, this was not happening anywhere in the school as described in this article. My question is, who needs more assistance in recognizing the power of conversation, creation and contribution of knowledge here? The students or the teachers? How can the students realize this potential when the teachers do not? Professional development really needs to move in this direction, beyond the mechanical to the powerful. Schools need to embrace powerful and meaningful learning through technology and FREE teachers from so many obstacles that continue to fetter them. Only then will we experience the ‘future of education’. For now, let’s be careful not to call digital 18th century modes of learning the ‘future of education’.

Explore posts in the same categories: Change, classroom, integration, laptops, Learning, pedagogy, teaching

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