Friday, November 16, 2007

the rambling draft of a developing philosophy...

I am into day 2 of the IETC Conference -

These are the ideas that continue to become solidified in my mind - They might not make a lot of sense yet, but I am working on many of the details...

I guess this has been building - consider this the rambling draft of a developing philosophy...

1. The key to developing prepared students is skills - refining the traditional skills that we know that all kids must have (3r's, communication, life skills) with the new ones that are developing through the power of technology (multimedia, social networking, living an online persona, etc(i still need to make a list of these things)

2. We need to understand that teaching content is a dying art. The collaborative informational tools on the internet are replacing the need for teachers as informers. We are more in need of teachers as connectors. Education must become an activity that shows how to find and use the infinite growing quantity of information. Information Literacy + Authentic Learning + Other Stuff (yeah working on that part too) = the future classroom...

3. Tools matter - you can't teach a bricklayer to be a mason without bricks, mortar, trowels, and chisels. Sure the tools may change - you might get a saw to cut the bricks with - but the skills that you learned with the basic tools translate to the other tools. You just have to learn the skill of learning how to use tools. Part of this is understanding that the tools will continue to get better and will continue to change. That tools go through a development cycle - which the length of fluctuates wildly depending on the tool. Sometimes, before a tool is perfected another on will step in and take it's place and we need to be able to give up the old tool for the better one.

4. The way we build relationships is changing - but the fundamental truths of human relationships will not. We still need trust, caring, love, understanding, conflict, support, etc (need more here too) in our relationships. Social networks may be helping to increase the quantity of individuals we can build relationships with - however, it may make it more difficult to establish those fundamental needs - in virtual settings. Our kids are getting better at this through MMORGs, social networks, chat environments, and virtual worlds.

5. Our teachers were not taught how to create learners in this new environment. They were taught to be conveyors of content. Skills are secondary to content - unless the skill is content. This will be the killer change - or the killer of change. We need to prepare our teachers to teach skills and use them to share content. This idea of the net as our brain's usb hard drive. Why keep information I don't use all of the time in my head when I can get it from my back-up - off the net? Why should I take time storing information when it is out there somewhere?

Well - of course I need some of that stuff so I can connect it, mold it, use it...

But - I want to spend more time doing that then memorizing junk - It is more important that I can convert Inches to Centimeters that remembering that there are 2.54cm/inch.

Or maybe it is just important to know that I CAN convert between units of measurements - because I can just type "convert 1 inch to cm" into my google search bar and get the answer.

Knowing what we need to do, what we want to do, and knowing that there are really no limits to that (if you have skills) is what we need to know.

6. So - this is what it all comes down to in my head right now. We need to teach kids (and teachers) to learn how to learn using today's tools while maintaining the flexibility to do the same with tomorrow's tools.

I believe that if people can do that they can do anything.

They could even learn to be a guy who is a learner/teacher/parent/trombonist/band director/husband/tech guy/administrator/writer/communicator/talker/geek/blah-blah just like me. Or they could be something totally different - just like me.

When people are empowered to become learners without limits they have the ability to extend beyond the walls and labels that have been placed upon them by themselves or the world.

I know I am missing stuff...

To be continued...

1 comments:

Mark said...

What you have here is putting into words how I have viewed education and learning for some time now. It is no longer enough to just memorize something (e.g. 2.54 cm / in), it is just as important to be able to derive other skills and knowledge using the skills and knowledge you already have. That is essentially how learning works: using prior knowledge and experience to understand the new knowledge you are acquiring or the new experiences you are having. I may have to write a follow-up post on my own blog.