Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Are You a Change Agent for Education?

I was sent a link to an article entitled "Change Agent" yesterday that was published in Education Week.

The article, written by Will Richardson, provides some provoking thoughts on how education should change. I can't say that I agree with everything the author is stating, but I do think he has made some valid arguments. I agree that problem solving skills should be taught at a higher level and more inquiry-based learning should be taught. Educators should also be more willing to embrace technology, share their resources and best practices, and establish an online presence as a "model" for our students.

I am in disagreement with the author when he believes that "facts" are somewhat irrelevant if a student can access the needed information in a couple of seconds on a smart phone. Richardson's example of “What was the third ship that Columbus sailed?” as being irrelevant is flawed in my opinion. The purpose of teaching history is to learn the trials and tribulations of individuals, groups, or nations. In order to understand their successes and failures, a student must understand the historical setting in which certain events took place. The goal of history isn't just learning "facts," but it is learning from the critical thinking skills that these historical figures possessed. It's really the same thing that the author is proposing that we do in the future as educators. Possibly, the facts aren't being taught in what I would consider the correct manner or assessed in the correct manner, but that is an entirely different topic.

I would also disagree with the author on his feeling toward testing. Assessments can also be used, as not only measures of knowledge, but as a teaching tool. As I have stated numerous times on this blog, just looking at a test "score" is never in the best interest of a student and more should be done with the information that you receive from testing.  A test is a "point-in-time" measure of a students's ability and many factors help comprise that score. The "score" is simply one factor of many. This "one" factor is something that must be interpreted with caution. 

There are also certain knowledge facts that an individual should possess prior to any type of certification. Would you want a crane operator or your surgeon accessing their smart phone while conducting business? I certainly don't think that would be in anyone's best interest.

I believe education builds upon itself and many facts must be taught as a foundation for lifelong learning to occur. Critical thinking skills and inquiry-based instruction are absolute musts for education! As is the infusion of technology! We need to improve our efficiencies in our instructional methods, do more with what we have, and continue to raise expecations for everyone involved in education.

The article, written by Anthony Rebora, states:
Will Richardson, a former teacher-turned-tech expert, says schools need to revolutionize teaching and learning to keep pace with societal changes.
Will Richardson was a high school English and journalism teacher in New Jersey for nearly 20 years. During the early part of this decade, he began experimenting with the use of interactive Web tools in the classroom and was soon transfixed by their potential for increasing students’ engagement and exposing them to new resources and outlets for expression. His experiences led him to write Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (Corwin). Now in its third edition, the book has sold more than 60,000 copies and become one of the most influential books available on integrating Web 2.0 technology in the K-12 classroom.
Richardson is now an educational-technology consultant and co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice, a professional development provider devoted to fostering online community for teachers. Both in his speaking engagements and on his blog, Weblogg-ed, Richardson argues that schools need to transform their models of teaching and learning to reflect broad changes in information technology and new intellectual demands and opportunities presented by global online networks.
Click HERE to read the entire article and let us know your thoughts. It's a great read!!

Thanks to Claire for sending the great article! J.T.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...