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After reading Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology by Allan Collins and Richared Halverson, I am left with many more questions than answers. The following is a sample of my written notes from the margins of my copy. I highly recommend this book.

We have experienced the knowledge explosion. The dust settled. Can we evolve, adjust and survive?

Have computers extended the human mind beyond the limits of the teacher of even the finest teachers?

Is technology disrupting local community building?

Are today’s schools mostly knowledge factories where one attempts to learn what “very esteemed thinkers” believe necessary to prosper?

Will we build schools that respect the students’ innate curiosity and need for solving real-life problems? Will we change only when we start losing our client base?

Will we create an environment where we celebrate failure as a sign of pure learning?

Will we allow students to roam freely between learning spaces? Will we trust students to take control of their own learning?

Can we create schools that create organizations and systems that enhance, rather than stifle, innovation?

Am I part of the problem?

Can we recognize and celebrate all that we are already doing to satisfy our students’ far-reaching demands?

Will we allow parents and students back into curriculum development and implementation?

Are we teaching all students successfully? Can we afford to let our students live a life of confinement until they leave high school?

Can we name and end the barriers of learning?

With improved educational leadership, can the need for classroom management be a thing of the past?

Can all teachers be allowed to inspire?

So many of my students are competitive, scared and lacking confidence. Am I allowing my kids to make the most of their time in the classroom?

Can we continue to teach curriculum that we know is out of sync with what students need to know?

Can we create a system that respects students right to question and investigate their own answers?

How much of my work day is bureaucracy of one form or the other?

Why is school attendance still compulsory? Why can’t kids learn from home?

Why are kids graded by age? Never, in the past year, have I been in a room filled with fellow forty-five year olds.

Why are teachers’ editions of textbooks still used in school?  Why is so much of the school day dedicated to tradition, behavior control and consistency?

How come students, parents and teachers do not write report cards collaboratively? Why aren’t all students on an Individualized Education Plan?

Why are Middle and High Schools such pressure cookers?

Can we accept that students are much more tech-savvy and more understanding of the adult world than we are wiling to believe?

Can we pay teachers to pursue their own personalized learning?

Can we allow for more project-based curriculum?

Can we accept that a culture of lifelong learning is what we all need to survive?

Can educational gaming and simulations become more of the day-to-day instruction and not a distraction to avoid at all costs?

Will alternative certificates and “badges” replace standard issue, high school diplomas?

Is High School already an anachronism?

Again, I urge all to read this book.  Your students will thank you.


Collins, A., & Halverson, R. (2009). Rethinking education in the age of technology. New York and London: Teachers College Press

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Comment Preferences

  •  Different school systems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Expat Teacher Man, mommyof3

    are very different. Since your moniker is Expat Teacher Man, where did you come from, or conversely where are you now? What was better from one place to another? Have you seen a difference in thought processing after mobile communication systems became common? Are students relating to each other in different ways?
    The advantage of books on pedagogy is that they often reinforce and explain things that we see on the ground, but that is also their great disadvantage.

    You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

    by northsylvania on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 06:20:02 AM PDT

  •  My two questions: (0+ / 0-)

    If we start by assuming that all children are motivated to learn and rethink education from the ground up, what could education look like?

    Since all children start out motivated to learn, what should we get rid of immediately in current educational systems?

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 06:29:39 AM PDT

    •  Two answers... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I would propose more choice,more independent study, more parental involvement, less standardized learning, greatly reduced standardized testing, zero memorization, more localized problem-solving and collaboration.

      I would immediately get rid High School as we know it and shift to smaller, regional learning and community centers where students were free to visit at any time during the day.

      •  "Localized problem-solving" apparently (0+ / 0-)

        means selecting answers that ignore context and consequences:
        "If one assumes that organizations' decision making actors have limited rationality (see bounded rationality), then it follows that decisions will be made in terms of localized disturbances to which abbreviated analyzes will be applied, with short-term recommendations as the result. A search for more stable solutions (i.e., those that will solve the problem once and for all) is unlikely; consequences are not given much attention, and apparently logical solutions may prove faulty as their consequences ramify. Furthermore, since the consequences of a decision often occur much later than the decision itself, it is difficult for the members to trace backward from these disruptive consequences to determine precisely what caused them. The members cannot make such an analysis, simply because there are too many competing explanations. Thus, the only thing members can do when a new problem arises is to engage in more localized problem solving. Weick, 1979, pp 20-21.

      •  In practice, (0+ / 0-)

        our school aggressively solicits parental involvement and finds it very difficult to get parents involved.

        Fundamentally, even when parents value and pay attention to their kids' education, they're pretty busy working and commuting and don't have a lot of time left over.

        I'm not sure how, within the constraints of the existing system, schools get more involvement. I'm eager to learn of new strategies if you know of successful ones that could be emulated.

        One of the things I come back to is that in Finland, our current model of educational envy, workers have 6 weeks paid vacation. It seems to me that a lot of workers would spend that time with their kids in various meaningful activities, even relatively "nonacademic" ones like traveling, that could make serious differences in educational achievement.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:48:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not an educator, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

      At what age is the "independence" supposed to start?

        The notion that parental involvement is key - is a great idea, but unfortunately not always a reality - here in the US.

         While everyone learns at a different speed, the idea of eliminating structure and accountability may leave many behind.   That is based on my history - I would have been left in the dust-bin and would never had have a successful career in healthcare.

          Critical thinking also would be left in the dust-bin as I have no idea what "localized problem solving" means and "collaboration" could easily lead to Group-Think.

          The same with eliminating High School:  there is more to  public education than class-work, where people are exposed to social interactions.  

          Perhaps all of this works well in the countries you cite, but in a more diverse society,  such as the US - it appears that you are comfortable with creating silos early and students are "cog-like" entities.

  •  Extending the limits of the human mind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    beyond what the finest teachers can achieve? That's already been accomplished-- by books. The internet just continues and broadens the effort.

    Celebrating failure as effort towards learning? There's too much failure to warrant special acknowledgment, and much failure comes from lack of any effort.

    Our schools are obviously not "knowledge factories"-- knowledge is occasionally discovered, under especially fortuitous circumstances-- it can hardly be said to be "mass produced."

    It may be presumptuous for "esteemed scholars to determine what knowledge is required to prosper," given that there are multiple different paths to prosperity. But what's wrong with esteemed scholars determining what knowledge is necessary to understand their fields?

    Don't be so quick to repudiate memorization, simply because it's hard work and not much fun. Some skills and understandings are simply unattainable without some memorization.

    •  Good points. (0+ / 0-)

      While I agree that the current form, structure and approach to education is anything but optimal, I would caution against throwing out the baby with the bath water, which is what I hear you saying. And I agree very much.

      It seems to me that what should really drive the process is an understanding of what comes out at the end. Do we want thinkers? Creatives? Brain-boxes? Or ... ? Or, perhaps all of the above? Or is it is something or some things altogether?

      One thing I think we are coming to finally realize is just how different individuals are and that the real challenge is to challenge each and every individual in the most appropriate way. This is difficult, but not completely impossible, in traditional classroom settings, yet a focus on standardized testing ignores this and focuses too much on rote learning.

      Maybe we are just still in the questioning phase. I'm also thinking, there's no quick fix, is there?

      None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      by achronon on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 04:44:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some of you might be interested in this, too: (0+ / 0-)

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    by achronon on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 05:54:21 AM PDT

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