In this week’s module we were posed the following questions:
- How would curriculum change if our priority approach was on critical, creative, and collaborative thinking?
- What does the reality of the modern age of information– this age of Google –suggest that we “teach”?
- Can we simply “update” things as we go, or is it time for rethinking of our collective practice?
I was forwarded this very provocative article from the Atlantic by my boss this week = “The deconstruction of the K-12 teacher” It ties in quite nicely with the theme of this module, but it also turns the questions on their heads.
- how would the curriculum change if they were in the hands of learners and not educators?
- What does the reality of the modern age of information suggest as to who should be teaching?
- Will “updating things as we go” enhance or delay the obsolescence of the current collective practice?
Or at least these could be the questions IF and only IF all the glory day assumptions on technology and education were true. As so many of my cohort have pointed out, the reality on the ground is very different from the theory and assumptions made up in ivory or silicon towers. There are brilliant teachers who don’t touch technology and will never need to and their students are not any the poorer for it. There are physical tools that are just as effective or more so than technological tools (see this great blog by Buffy Hamilton on writeable tables). There are pathetic teachers who wow and woo with their technical powess, and there are self-absorbed #SoMe educators who p*** the hell out of their colleagues and students. There are teachers who are genuinely passionate and engaged with their students AND technology and how the combination can optimise learning and reach students in ways that traditional teaching may not be able to. There are those who have experimented and been rewarded and feel empowered to continue and those who have tried and failed or tried had had their fingers smacked by threatened superiors or administrators or frightened parents.
There are children who are naturally curious and respond to any and every stimulus be it text or video, paper or screen and dive right into everything and those who hang back, those who are scared of failing. Those who’ve seen it all, can do it all and more and those that need a lot of help. A LOT OF HELP. Will technology be the panacea?
I’m not sure that education has ever moved forward by revolution (and it is usually at the behest of entrenched power structures that it does so). Rather it seems to have fits and starts and intermittant warfare (remember the reading/phonics wars?)
The question I think is really, in whose interest is it that education changes, and do they have the power and control to institute those changes? And this is where it gets interesting. Coming back to the Atlantic article – it would appear to make economic sense to only have “super teachers” and to gain economies of scale, so that would benefit local / state governments wanting to save money. It may even be attractive to those wanting to pay less tax. It’s certainly interesting for commercial educational interests (Pearson etal. the most hated kid on the block it seems) to support this.
Who is driving this bus? I get the feeling that many educators are feeling like passengers, some willingly paid for the ride, some were forced to embark, some think they’re the conductor or the ticket collector, But who has set the itinerary, and is there a driver or is it a unmanned ground or cloud vehicle?
I see the changes benefiting students as they can delve deeper and go further than the curriculum would allow. Go beyond the geographical and age limitations set by traditional classrooms. I also see some of them them drowning in content without being able to absorb, internalise or think about it before moving on. I see them learning to use fabulous tools and I see them being sucked into a time-blackhole where the tool and the look of the product becomes more important than the content, the analysis, the thinking or the learning.
I don’t have answers, I just have observations and thoughts and questions right now.