I stumbled (or was guided by the cosmic
universe twitterverse) to an old (by today’s standards) piece by Jeff Jarvis. In this piece Jeff attacks the TED format for maintaining the status quo of the education paradigm…lecture. Jeff is absolutely right. However, he misses his own hypocrisy – as most of us miss our own hypocrisy.
Jeff (we) talks about introducing technology, we talk about education reform, yet we talk about putting explanations (lectures) on youtube, or having students Google for information (fact find in a text book). We need to look carefully at the cognitive demands we are placing on students. If they are watching a youtube video there is likely little cognitive difference compared to lecture for students. Furthermore, recording lectures makes lecture even worse because you just reply the lecture instead of trying to make it better the next year. Importantly, the technology does not cause students to think at higher levels, nor is digital technology a requirement for high levels of student thinking.
We have to stop looking at the things of classrooms. We need to replace our focus onto the people of education – teachers and students. We should look to see how the teacher is engaging students in content (an iPad is not content except in a tech course). We should inquire as to the cognitive expectations being placed on students. Our materialism (including technology, curricula, buildings, etc) easily distracts us from what I believe ought be the point of education: causing students to think.
*With all this said, I’m not saying “no technology”. I’m saying “technology use is far from sufficient for effective learning”.