This is a quick “aha” post.
About a hundred years ago the new technology known as the assembly line revolutionized industry – increasing profits, making production more efficient, increasing productivity, etc. This technological revolution then found its way into schools which is why we now have a “factory” model for education. We all pretty much agree this model is bad. Efficiency in learning is not necessarily an ideal we desire.
Fast forward >>>>>
Today the plethora of information at our fingertips is revolutionizing our economy. People have access to people and resources they didn’t have access to before. Information is our currency and communication our path to more profit, efficiency, and increased productivity.
Now, hit the effing pause button!
Just as the assembly line model had horrible consequences for education because of its focus on increased productivity and efficiency, might there be negative consequences for superimposing the “new information economy” onto education? Don’t get me wrong, education needs to change, but how it changes is as important as if. The information economy focuses on increased access to more and more information. What is happening to our curriculum as a result? Our bloated curriculums are packed with ideas, but students aren’t learning much about the ideas. Just like we gloss over ideas we come across on the net, we gloss over ideas we “cover” in the classroom. Access to so much information is not a good thing if students are not encouraged to wrestle with ideas so that the ideas become intelligible.
Information access is a great goal for our society, I don’t think it is such a great goal for our schools. Our students are not widgets, nor are they search engines. Treating them as either is problematic. Our students are thinkers, we should treat them as such.
Excellent observations, Jerrid. Many of our schools exist today as “student factories” either in appearance or in function. It would be a shame if the current push for technology integration in the classroom led to a similarly poor model. Students are individuals and require individual attention.
Integration of technology into schools only makes sense if the students are first taught how to use it as a proper tool. I believe the root of many problems is that our children are not taught how to learn. Unless you know how to learn, everything else becomes a futile exercise in repetition.
Learning how to learn should be THE end of education (end as in “goal” not end as in finale). ONce you know how to learn, you can actually think about how to make use of the tools in meaningful ways.