Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Designing Schools for the Present Age: Thoughts on a Recent Editorial by Bill Gates

An older post from the Eide Neurolearning Blog: Designing Schools for the Present Age: Thoughts on a Recent Editorial by Bill Gates. They actually agreed with most of what Gates had proposed, which surprised me at first -- I remember dismissing it at the time because he was basically insisting that every kids should go to university, which I just don't believe. But anyway, the Eides push those ideas further into the realm of individualized learning plans, and I thought they were especially on track with questioning these three assumptions about traditional education:

"· The notion that all students should master a core body of information at the same rates and in the same ways, using identical educational materials and informational pathways. Basic skills can be acquired in many ways, and each child's instruction should be tailored to his or her optimal learning style.

· The notion that students are best educated in age-based cohorts. The rates at which children develop vary as greatly as their learning styles, and clustering by age makes no more sense than clustering by height or weight. The whole notion of grade-levels is equally questionable. There is no reason to assume that each year every child should make identical progress in all subject areas, nor is there any justification to prevent a child from making progress in one subject (e.g., math) because he is having difficulty in another (e.g., reading). Flexible, modular instruction could eliminate this problem.

· The notion that lecture-based classroom instruction should be the primary--even a major--route of learning for all students is unsupported by data on children's learning styles. For enormous numbers of children lecture time is not only a waste but a strong provoker of misbehavior and dissatisfaction of school."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Only Connect

Anyone know what ever happened to Stephen Harlow's Only Connect? I was thinking about some his stuff from a couple of years ago, then went googling and couldn't find anything recent from him -- any clues?

Update: I got a great e-mail from Stephen in NZ and he's doing well. He's got most of Only Connect archived on the site he's set up for his digital storytelling sideline.