ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How different is your current classroom from the one in which you learned when you were a student?
This week I had a teacher tell me that they teach better without technology and then they proceeded to justify their comment by saying that a recent study revealed that technology doesn’t raise test scores. I replied that I don’t use technology to raise test scores I use it to prepare students for their life outside of school. The tests she is referring to are based on the industrial education model. These tests aren’t measuring the computational thinking that programing teaches. These tests don’t measure skills in global entrepreneurship or even something simple like imagination. When I think about the conversation in general it is actually ironic; the conversation started because the teacher came to me for help because she unsure how to operate her computer. She is lacking basic computer skills and it is interfering with her ability to do her job but at the same time argues against technology.
Why are schools the only places where people feel that technology is optional. When I go to the hospital I expect it to be a 21st century facility not one stuck in the 20th century. Our classrooms should be 21st century classrooms. I can’t think of a single profession that doesn’t require technology skills on some level. Schools should not be based on Industrial Age thinking. We live in a fundamentally different world. Change is already here. Technologically driven transformations haven taken place in the workplace. I remember walking into my classroom for the first time and feeling like I had gone back in time. There is a disconnect between our schools and workforce. The technology I had used so heavily in real world was missing from the schools. John Jones pointed out “Why must we ask the 21st century to wait outside our classes? Is it just to protect the lecture? We know what a classroom designed around lectures, notes, and quizzes can do, and it is not impressive.” (2015)
When I was a young student my classrooms weren’t much different than many classrooms today. The teacher would deliver knowledge (that experts put together) and the students would be expected to store that knowledge. Growing up my classrooms were based on the industrial-era education which consisted of the factory model of skill development. The curriculum was fragmented into parts and time. There was minimal relationship between the curriculum and real world experiences and performances. Now we find ourselves in the information era but many educators still teach as if they are preparing their students to be factory workers.
How can I as an educators prepare students for jobs that haven’t even been created yet? As a teacher I can create a new culture of learning. This new culture of learning comprises two elements. “The first is a massive information network that provides almost unlimited access and resources to learn about anything. The second is bounded and structured environment that allows for unlimited agency to build and experiment with things within those boundaries” (Thomas & Brown 2011). I strive to create a classroom environment based on skills that every student will need regardless of the job:
Carver, John (johncarver). “If the Army can figure it out, then why can’t Education?” 31 January 2015, 6:17 a.m Tweet.
Jones, John. "Let's Ban Bans in The Classroom." DML.centeral. N.p., 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2015. http://dmlcentral.net/blog/john-jones/let%E2%80%99s-ban-bans-classroom.
Nichols, Jennifer Rita. "How To Prepare Students For 21st Century Survival." TeachThought. N.p., 07 Sept. 2015. Web. 18 Sept. 2015. <http://teachthought.com/learning/how-to-prepare-student-for-21st-century-survival/>.
Talbot, Mary. "Quest to Learn Offers Glimpse of Game-Based Schooling." Quest to Learn Offers Glimpse of Game-Based Schooling. The Hechinger Report, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2015. http://www.gamesandlearning.org/2015/01/26/quest-to-learn-offers-glimpse-of-game-based-schooling.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Chapters 1-2. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace
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