Monday, March 29, 2010

And I Quote . . . .

Tony Wagner: Most high school educators do not feel a real sense of urgency for change--perhaps because their work isolates them from the larger world of rapid change and they've lived through too many failed education fads.

George Siemens: When [social] connections calcify and become dogma and rigid structure, they fail to represent the chaotic and continually shifting world outside.

Faire Alchemist: The future of education is bound up in the ways that we relate to our alumni via the social connections of the Net. Because the future of education isn't about the classroom; it's about the world. And your alumni are the bridge between the two.

Nicholas Bramble: Educators should stop thinking about how to repress the huge amounts of intellectual and social energy kids devote to social media and start thinking about how to channel that energy away from causing trouble and toward getting more out of their classes. After all, it's not as if most kids are investing commensurate energy into, say, their math homework.

Terry Freedman: Using social networks, and by implication other Web 2.0 applications, is more and more starting to be an economic imperative. Schools which do not recognise this, and act on that realisation, are doing a disservice to their students .

"The people in charge" Flickr Creative Commons photo by Scott McLeod


WillKnott said...

I think the first comment is spot on. Probably half the teachers in this country are over 50 and have lived through all manner of failed fads which at the time are advertised as the next big thing. And in some cases, administration merely bloviates about how urgent the change is without modeling that urgency themselves.

The train has left the station, and I can't say that I am unhappy that I retired before the change became necessary. It is difficult to partially leave system which you know has worked, at least in your classroom. It is difficult to find the time and the energy (especially of one has been teaching for decades and in a discipline where so much time is spending in both prepping and correcting) to explore and modify.

Finally, administrators must stress that what we have been doing over the decades does have value and is not being totally marginalized, and that the goal is to take what has work and make it work better and more dramatically.

Larry Baker said...

Thanks so much for your comment, WillKnott. The "failed fad" quote rings so true for veteran teachers like ourselves. But the common thread of all five quotes seems to be our educational system's resistance to modernity itself. Wagner warns us that by expending SO much time teaching to tests, American schools are not preparing our students to compete with their counterparts in India, China, Pakistan, etc. who hunger for upward mobility. Ironically, one area that Obama nearly sees eye-to-eye with Bush is the preeminence of standardized testing for measuring knowledge.

When I do presentations for other teachers they always wonder where I found the "time to learn this stuff" or fit it into the curriculum. I think Siemens would call that a "calcified" conceptual framework bound by the limits of school buildings, 7 period days, traditional school calendars, and teacher as knowledge delivery system. That whole way of thinking has to be exploded.

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