The public school vs private school debate has been around for as long as I can remember. Private schools, in general, hand-pick their clientele, creating an elite group of socially connected future captains of industry. Public schools get the “leftovers” and do their best with what they’ve got (and, as stated in David Gillespie‘s book FREE SCHOOLS, often having more of an effect size on learning than their private school counterparts.)
Then there’s the special school vs mainstreaming controversy, with geography, resources and individual personality traits being factors for consideration when making a placement decision for children with a learning difficulty.
What is not as often heard about is the examination of modern vs antiquated teaching pedagogy. Nor do we examine enough the gap between the ways things are learnt at school vs out of school contexts.
Sometimes you hear about “getting back to basics”, when old schools of thought get recycled as leaders revert back to what they know and crawl back into their comfort zones. But where are the activists pushing for innovation and change that reflects what we already know is happening with today’s youth?
The kids are doing it all online! They’re connecting with people all over the globe, they’re generating knowledge dynamically, they’re validating theories with peers and getting instant feedback, they’re challenging and defending their ideas and those of others, and they’re doing it all without the limits of rows of desks, a subject schedule and standardised tests.
This article elaborates on how devices are transforming education, not just enhancing it.
No wonder kids are disengaging from the same institutional setups that their parents experienced in schools. No longer does it seem right, in a world when you can publish online to the globe, for them to hand in their homework to a contrived audience of one.
And who could blame them? If you could stay at home, skype with your friends in Japan and learn about their culture before lunch, then watch a youtube video about volcano eruptions and know how to simulate them in your own kitchen before afternoon tea, and then read an ebook while being involved in a twitter conversation with the book’s author… when the alternative would be to attend classes with pencils, paper and lecturing adults… would you bother going to school?
So how do we bridge these gaps, you ask? Connected learning. Using social media and online tools to set up learning environments where everyone can participate, learning happens by doing, challenge is constant, and everything is interconnected. Designing learning spaces where students are driven by their interests, benefit from collaborating with people from a variety of cultures, and they can express themselves safely and freely.
Watch this to hear about what are being deemed as 21st Century literacies:
Sound a little utopian? This article argues that technology is actually widening the gap before the rich and the poor.
Besides, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. That’s how a candle’s imagination can light the way for others. And besides, today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s science fact.