Reading the newspaper should expose us to divergent thoughts and make us think. Indeed, this mornings breakfast reading did just that and like Mel Cashen I felt I needed to respond to Johanna O’Farrell’s article that was printed with the title “Why our schools are failing your children:a teacher tells” but online as “Splashing cash won’t fix Australia’s broken education system”
Amongst other issues with our education system Johanna states:
But I believe ICT is in fact little more than a gimmick – and I know that the novelty of it as a tool for engagement is fast wearing off. In many cases, the study of ICT heightens the potential for distraction, is extremely inefficient, wastes time and quite simply is unnecessary – students do not need the ”world at their fingertips” all the time.
This made me reflect on our graduation ceremony for our Year 6 class last week. A mixed group of students, some academic, some mathematical, some artists, some writers, many sporting stars. They left our school with an understanding of learning : learning that can be found from each other, from their teachers, and from many other sources. They have been exposed to the skills that will help them learn, help them present their learning . They also left with strong literacy and mathematical skills.
Encouraged and not distracted as Ms O’Farrell believes by the “open-plan learning, iPads and interactive whiteboards” and multitude of other technology tools, these students explored their place in the global community. Technology allowed them to connect, collaborate and learn with others, gathering perspectives and information difficult if not impossible without them. They were taught to question what they read as information, or knowledge, is no longer sourced from one text book or reliable scholar. Technology was ubiquitous – not a gimmick, but brought out when the purpose suited it.
Having the ‘world at their fingertips ‘ is the way these students live 24/7 and not allowing or expecting teachers to harness the value and seek teachable moments would be making education irrelevant. Like Ms O’Farrell’s parents I did not have these tools when at I was at school, but education reflected the society that I lived in.
Do we really want our students to be educated in a system that reflects a society of 10 – 20 – 30 – 40 years ago ?