Monday, June 04, 2007

Are Geeks better educators than Teachers?

OK.... is it time that everyone in the world, with the exception of teachers is acknowledging where education is going? I read an article today from 'ExtremeTech,' a blog that I subscribe to because they usually have some decent pictures of case mods and other cool things for the DIY crowd and my Computer Systems Design students like to see what these guys are doing, that states that students are just going to be editors of the read/write web. The article, "Are We Just Editors?" states that the nature of information has changed so much since the author's youth that it allows students to do so much with a basic Internet connection. The author, Loyd Case, relates a story about his daughter trying to find a quote from a book and how he could help his daughter by quickly searching and finding the exact quote in a matter of seconds.

Loyd starts the article with a link to the Dubious Quality Blog, where the author, Bill Harris, of that post relates the process that most teachers used when they went through school using the card catalog to find books that related to the topics they were interested in. The blog post continues on and relates to how different the process of obtaining information is today, using a story about a friend's children and stating, "We were a generation of information explorers. They are a generation of editors."

To come full circle. Why haven't teachers figured this out and adapted their teaching strategies to leverage the skills students are already using? I think there are a few reasons and I have blogged on them previously, but I think as a profession, we need to take a good long look in the mirror and decide we are going to do what is going to prepare the students we teach for a future that is going to require them to manipulate, evaluate and edit large amounts of information. We need to give them the skills to make sense of the information and utilize it in new and different ways allowing a synergistic energy to build upon itself creating new institutions to advance the society as a whole.

I know... I went a little on the idealistic bent, instead of being pragmatic, but I think we need to know what might be possible if we move forward. Instead, we sit in our classrooms, bound by NCLB and high-stakes testing that professes to be in our best interests, yet is the thing that holds us accountable to the past.

1 comment:

Durff said...

The nature of knowledge remains the same. Those quotes have always been there. The difference is in how you access that information - a hard bound copy of Bartlett's or the online version? The speed of access is accelerating, but the knowledge itself is static.