Finding the Time, Using the Tools

11/11/2010
An analogue clock face without hands.
Image via Wikipedia

I haven’t written in a month. Sorry.

I’ve been kind of busy trying to become the teacher I want to be in a situation I should love but am struggling with. More on that in a later post.

This post is a comment I made in response to this.

Thanks for the kind words about my statement. Not only do students and teachers need a safe space to fail, we need the time to fail and learn from that failure. More and more I see time, particularly the lack of it, the biggest impediment to learning. The answer is not extended days or shorter summer breaks. Instead, we should severely trim the curriculum and revolutionize our notions of subjects and related content.

Old tools and spanners

Image by freefotouk via Flickr

We are increasingly in possession of a collection of technologic tools that more easily allow for individualization of learning opportunities, methods and objectives, yet we retain 19th Century notions of discrete subject areas and common learning.

As we switch from individual to collaborative models of thought, learning and creation, it is less important that any one person have a great stash of learning as long as the collaborative team does. Additionally, the collaborative team need not be in a common classroom, school or continent.

We need to help students (as opposed to teach them) to learn how to collaborate, how to find collaborators and how to use technology to do all that and also present the results of the collaboration.

For these reasons and more, teaching the use of the tools is at least as important as anything else we do in school. When I was in middle school we had typing lessons and in high school we were taught mechanical drawing, both examples of teaching the technology and not the content. Doing so was important then and it is important now, perhaps even more so as there are so many more tools and so many more ways to use them.

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