April 29, 2009

Some Questions

What if...
our curriculums are wrong?
our concept of traditional skills, standards and content are wrong?
what I learned about teaching English in university only 4 years ago has drastically changed?
kids can communicate just as clearly through shorthand text messages as I can in a formal essay?
we refuse to acknowledge any of this as plausible?

What if...
we are too self-centered and egotistical to think that things can change drastically in a short amount of time?
we are too ignorant to realize the entire planet is shifting and education is stuck in neutral?
we are too stuck in a model of what we think content areas should look like and include to be advocates for elaborate change?
I don't know how to keep up?

What if...
we think that kids should be learning what we learned?
we compare ourselves to our students?
we compare students from last year to students today?
we are stuck in a bog hole of stale ideas but view ourselves as fresh?

How do we.....
give students appropriate skills?
come to the realization that although we are the experts...we know very little?
we keep up with change? (and don't say some things never change?)

A few days ago Dan Meyer wrote a blog titled "In Defense of Digital Media". He said that although "[his] preference is also for the real thing over a digital simulation of the real thing" sometimes "digital media is preferable to the real thing". One example:

The real thing is too mathematically noisy for classroom use. Jason prefers a real demonstration of projectile motion using bottle rockets to my use of online simulators but that introduces acceleration and wind resistance— mathematical noise — into the system. Let's not romanticize the real or the digital. They are both deficient. They both require a cost-benefit analysis.

This got me thinking - how much of what we do is romanticized. Yes, we would love students to experience certain opportunities in the flesh...but how much of that is actually a benefit to student learning? But then I thought - we are educating students for a future that we know very little about. What are the most important skills for them to gain? Isn't mathematical noise a good thing (I am not a Math teacher)? Don't we want our students to be problem solvers in a real world context...shouldn't they be creative and face a variety of situations in order to prepare them for life outside the closed model system?

And then I thought - are we a closed model system that tries to avoid "educational" noise?

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