How will technology change the classroom?
The other day, my four-year old son asked me what sound a giraffe makes. I don’t know, I responded.
“Can you ask your phone?” he said.
At four, he is keenly aware that the answers to all the questions in the world are in my phone.
I tell you this because it makes me think about how school will be for him. When we went to school, we were essentially tested on our ability to memorize information. We would ‘study’ content, then recite it on a test. The higher the grade, the more it was about memorization.
But we didn’t have a device in our hands that give us the answer. Back then, we had to know the answer – someone needed to have that information memorized. Now, it isn’t as critical.
Aside: I know my parent’s phone number, but I still need to look up my new phone number because I use my cell phone and just say call home.
So how will my son be tested? Knowing that the answers are in the device he’ll inevitably have in the classroom, how can teachers test on memorization?
I think we need to radically rethink the definition of learning. I do think we need to teach the basics – reading, writing and arithmetic. I also think we need to work on diction, grammar and sentence structure.
However, I really think we need to focus on story telling. I think we also need to teach students how to talk into cameras and tell stories. They can do papers using video. We can and should teach them to tell stories using YouTube, Facebook, a blog or Google Earth.
We should also teach them to think about anonymity online.
Communication will be the most important element of the next 40 years. It will be crucially more important than the ability to memorize who won the war of 1812. Instead, teach students how to use Google Earth to show how people fought the war.
The obvious problem is that for my son, technology will be a way of life. For his teachers, this is all new. They learned through memorization. The only device they had at their disposal was the calculator – and some were old enough to not even have a calculator in the class.
Here is a look at technology in College.