Rethinking Education

I recently read a book called Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology. The authors give a historical overview of education in the U.S. – from apprenticeship to the current factory-model that Americans know. They make the claim in this book that school as we know it is changing, and it’s changing because we’ve entered the technological revolution. In fact, they believe that education is going through its own revolution.

They address barriers to using technology in education; but, they focus on the current bricks & mortar educational system when they discuss these barriers. It isn’t until very late in the book that they begin to explore how students can learn differently and in self-directed ways.

The subtopics in the last chapter are: rethinking learning, rethinking motivation, rethinking what is important to learn, rethinking careers, rethinking the transitions between learning and work, rethinking educational leadership, rethinking the role of government in education, and their vision for the future. Their vision: stretch thinking capacities to include broader technological use in education. Ummmm- aren’t we already doing that?

Granted, education must change, and it must include technology to an extent that just isn’t doing yet; but, we all know that education moves at a glacial pace. I don’t think including more technology “in the classroom” is what we need. I think teachers need to learn how to use technology and they need to become mentors so that they can allow students to be self-directed. The traditional role of teacher must change. We should be coaches. Maybe our educational system needs to revert back to the apprenticeship system – with a few little tweaks here and there.

Education News Involving Technology

Iam a member of NCTE and get their weekly updates in my inbox. Of course, there is a section on technology (albeit small), so I thought I’d share what English teachers think are important enough to list in their weekly updates.

PBS recently conducted a survey that asked teachers if they want more access to classroom technology (DUH!). Not surprisingly and with the state of education budgets in this country, 2/3 of teachers report that budgets are the biggest barrier to incorporating technology in the classroom. To read the full article: http://educationviews.org/2012/01/23/national-pbs-survey-finds-teachers-want-more-access-to-classroom-tech/.

An introduction to the beginning of the “highlighting” feature we so love in e-readers: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/magazine/the-hand-held-highlighter.html?_r=1

And, hurdles to iPads in every classroom. We all want them; we all think they could positively impact our students. So, why aren’t they transforming education yet? http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/20/tech/innovation/ipad-wont-transform-education

If engaging students is what we really want in education (you know, creating the self-motivated, self-directed learner), then why aren’t we doing it?! http://thejournal.com/Articles/2012/01/20/OMG-Engaging-Students-on-Their-Own-Terms.aspx

And, finally, remember a week ago (I know things move fast in technology) when we talked about SOPA/PIPA? There were a few colleges who joined the hype and blacked out part of their websites, too. http://www.ecampusnews.com/policy/legislation/colleges-join-wikipedia-in-sopa-blackout-protests/