Thursday, April 06, 2006

Close Down the Schools

Pat Kane's big idea for 2006 channels some Ivan Illich. He visited a group of pre-teens to talk to (and ask them about) digital tools in their lives, and found a total disconnect between the richness of their online worlds and what they're "learning" in class:
"All of them were actively involved in digital creativity in one form or another, from making fan websites with up to 60,000 hits, through coding Flash animations for their friends, to arranging music downloads for underground Glaswegian rap artists. But none of them saw any connection between this intrinsically motivated, rawly enterprising lifestyle -- where trade, hacking, self-skilling and peer-to-peer co-operation was the norm -- and any part of the curriculum they were receiving at school. And this was a computer studies class."


Joan Vinall-Cox said...

Some teachers don't know how to create (or go along with) "fuzzy learning" - - I'm convinced most people who learn from the web, learn by wanting to perform a personally meaningful task, and seeking out information, and trying again and again till they get it figured out.

The central point is that they are using the technology to COMMUNICATE not to learn a particular version of technology. They need that approach in their classes, not just information on what buttons to push.

Jeremy said...

Hi Joan...sorry I missed this comment (for a month!). You nailed it with "wanting to perform a personally meaningful task"...and I think the basic premise of schooling tends to be at odds with that goal. The best teachers try to find ways to make the curriculum somewhat relevant.

It's no wonder most teachers have a hard time with this concept of self-directed learning -- it eliminates all of the fundamentals of traditional education including curriculum, a model of instruction as learning, age-based cohorts, weekly/daily scheduling...the list could go on and on.