Old-School Rules

Tom Haskins adds to the many comments on Will Richardson’s post about technology being the devil, and then shows the real rules that students learn from an industrial-age “teach-to-the-test” approach:

It’s as-if the teacher is saying:

  1. This is a bogus challenge that’s designed to diminish your curiosity and creativity. Please don’t think about the pseudo-value of this challenge to you. Don’t approach the useless exercise or flawed course design as the actual problem to solve. Don’t see through this scam or find solutions among yourselves that I’ll be clueless to comprehend.
  2. I‘m pretending the web does not exist. I’m assuming you do not have successes every day where you easily find what you’re looking for online. I expect you to experience information as a scarce resource that’s difficult to find and disconnected from other sources. You are required to play along with me.
  3. This is a stupid game to play that deserves your contempt. I’m cheating you out of an authentic learning experience so please return the favor and cheat your way out of this stupid game.
  4. I’m a pathetic game designer. I have no idea how to add a narrative dimension to the challenges. I can only be blatantly obvious and boring. It’s left to you to show me how to be devious, ingenious and clever in hopes I might learn what you know.

There is no shortage of information in our networked world. We don’t need to teach “stuff” because our children live in a world of information abundance. A teaching and content-centric approach is outdated and useless. Education today needs a learning and process-centric approach. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

The rules of the game need to change.

One Response to “Old-School Rules”

  1. Patrick

    Somewhere someone out there posted that a whole generation of learners has been educated to believe that knowledge is elusive and in the control of a few individuals, and that these individuals teach us that information and we are privileged to get it.

    What happens when you tell people that it is just not true? What happens when you tell them that they can go get every piece of information they need without permission from a teacher or “owner” of knowledge?

    I always try to remember this: teachers represent, for the most part, the group of people that excelled in the model that we are trying to change (we’ll stick with “old school”. So that is a double-edged sword when we are telling teachers to change the very system that has validated most of their adult lives. Asking someone to learn something in which they will not be good at upon first try, even for a short time is not an easy thing to have them acquiesce to; I don’t care how many approaches we take.


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