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How will technology change the classroom?

October 21, 2012

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?

My thoughts.

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.






2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2012 1:51 am

    I agree that technology is outpacing our educational models and methods. I agree that teaching communications is an important skill that is needed today and in the future, but I’m not sure the most important.

    Our educational system still teaches students to become good workers or cogs in the wheel. What we need is critical thinking and problem solving skills enhanced with the skills to aggregate and build new concepts using new information almost as soon as someone else in the planet produces it.

    But yes, our current educational system is letting us down.

  2. Faisal permalink
    November 6, 2012 5:31 am

    I agree with you that we need to reconsider our look at the educational system and how we should learn and teach. Actually I’m still a senior student in Electrical Engineering and I tell you it’s not only about your four year old son !

    At my university, KFUPM, in one of the courses of economy , the professor gave the student an assignment to record a video about a topic they chose and post it on Youtube, he also told them that part of the grading criteria of the assignment was the number of views, likes, and maybe comments.

    Sometimes when I miss classes or find difficulties reviewing some topics, I go on Youtube and see some brief clips about that topic and usually it does the job.

    However, we still need to teach kids to use their memory and they should ” train ” it from the begging. I said train cause if they are used to not memorize and only rely on technology it will be bad. If it’s for me,I would recommend that student focus on the understanding and how to solve problems and think about new issues that they haven’t encounter before, but also support their memory by some exercises or making them remember some of the laws or poems perhaps to have a variety sources of information.

    Recently I’ve decided not to use my cell phone contacts to look for numbers of friends and family members and try to remember them – as I used to do before – and take this as a training for my memory to make it better and don’t loose its efficiency.

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