learners

Revolving Revolution

Why hasn’t technology dramatically changed education? Why isn’t it a panacea for a system we call broken and antiquated? Sampling of answers: we use it too much; we don’t use it enough; we aren’t using the right technologies in the right way.

What if we’re thinking about the problem incorrectly? If we insert technology into an educational environment, then students will use it to enhance their learning. Right? Their experiences will be better and thus their learning will improve. Oops. Not if we aren’t applying the technology in a way that transforms how they learn.

The YouTube channel Veritasium released a video this past Monday, December 1 that explains the folly of thinking that technology itself will revolutionize education. That has been spouted for over a century. The addition of technology in a classroom to do different things with the same content is evolution, as is stated in the video. To truly revolutionize education, we need to consider how technology can help learners apply their thinking differently to the content. I love the moment in the video when the host states that we aren’t limited by what experiences we can offer students through technology. We are limited by how we can affect the learning, thinking, and reasoning that occurs inside the students. That is my paraphrasing.

Our attempts at integrating technology have seemed cyclical. We are stuck in a revolving door of thought and process. Every time we go round, we pick up a new toy — excuse me — tool, and we use it to help us continue with our revolving. We call this revolution. A different kind maybe.

Here is the video. Watch and see if it changes your thinking about our perspective on education. Is the juggernaut of education too stuck in its ways to allow technology to really change it, or is there a bigger issue that speaks to the heart of education itself and what it means to learn?

Modern Learners

What is a modern learner? What makes a learner of today different from a learner from 20 or 30 years ago (or more)? They would have needed the same things regarding their own learning. Society and the job market may have dictated a different path, but wouldn’t they still have wanted to be autonomous back then? Wouldn’t they still have needed to be creative and innovative? I suppose that can be a discussion for another time, but it is still worth pondering as we move farther into this century and come face to face with the demands our world is putting on learners.

@Silvana_Hoxha via @Edudemic has shown us a neat little cartoon with “The 12 Must-Have Skills of Modern Learners”, and I have inserted it below.

The 12 Must-Have Skills of Modern Learners

How many of these are tangible, measurable qualities? Do they all need to be? Personally, I don’t think so. That brings up another question, though. How do we teach, or instill these qualities, in today’s learners? Or ourselves? I believe some of these are inherent characteristics of us as humans, and the others are the results of those inherent skills being developed. If we are born curious, we can use that curiosity and imagination to fuel our ability to think critically and problem solve. The issue is to have someone help us develop that ability using our natural skills.

My nephew is currently asking the question “why?” on a regular basis. He’s not yet three years old, and he’s into this already. How do we normally respond to that question? Do we respond differently given a person’s age? Granted, he sees it as a game most of the time, but when he doesn’t, he genuinely listens to your answer as he works out the language and repeats what you say. He is curious. He thinks about the situation and asks the question. He listens to the response, parrots it to be sure of what you said, and then often, he will proceed to interact with something within the situation to create a tactile learning experience for himself. Maybe I’m reading too much into it at this point, but I know he is learning, and I see some of these skills inherent in his process.

I will have to say that Empathy and Global Stewardship aren’t yet on his radar, but he’s on his way. Grit is there.

Are there attributes/skills/characteristics left off of this list? What are we born with and what must be purely developed?

Call the educational system what you like, and judge it how you will, but learners still have need of someone to assist in their development. Parents, teachers, the community and so on. There isn’t a way that one party can completely round out that list for a learner. Not without seeking the aid of someone else. The purposes of education are not complex. Complex to institute, maybe, but not complex as an idea. That is a topic for another post…the one titled 4 Purposes of Education.