Recently I was at the first ever EdTechTeacher Summit in Chicago where Will Richardson was the Keynote speaker on Tuesday. (If you would like to see what he is all about, I suggest you watch his three TedX talks here, here, and here) He spoke to us about how he was an unhappy public school dad. He brought up many great points, but he mainly spoke about the differences between Traditional Learning vs. Modern Learning. One of the main points that stuck with me the most is when he showed a picture of giant library filled with information. Back in the day, thats where people went to get information, students relied on teachers to tell them the information they didn’t know, to “teach them.” Now, students have laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, etc that hold all that information and is accessible any time, any place. Before, students went to school because they needed to know content, needed to learn knowledge, and wanted information. Do our schools still need to focus on these concepts? As stated above, if a student needs to know how to solve an Algebraic equations, they can just look it up on Wolfram Alpha now. So, do they NEED to come to school to get content, knowledge, and information or should school be something more?
A while back at a Google Apps for Education Summit in Lincoln, NE, I heard my friend Jeff Utecht deliver a great closing Keynote. He asked the audience, why do we meet? What are the purposes of schools today? This goes along with Will Richardson’s message, and many of the modern Keynote speakers today. Schools should be places where the focus is not on content, knowledge, and information, but more on concepts like creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, connections, and curiosity. Think about why you hang out with your friends or colleagues? Is it gain more content or is it collaborate and communicate? Our schools need to be inquiry based, authentic learning places that are transparent and meet the needs of modern learners, not those of a century ago. That is what I strive to do.
George Phillip is a social studies teacher and designer.
Ramsey Musallam - www.cyclesoflearning.com
Karl Lindgren-Streicher -
Josh Stumpenhorst -
Jason Bretzmann -
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