Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Education ... Learning the Basics in a "Blended" Manner ... It's All So Simple ... Learning to Do Old Things in New Ways

Learning is the forerunner of knowledge, which in turn enables us to make a living and hopefully attain a measure of personal financial security and eventually perhaps even some wisdom along life's path.

Learning can be fun as well as time consuming, and the more productively we use our time while learning, the more knowledge we gain. It's that simple.

In my view, the absolute key to progress and productivity and achieving a fun and even higher standard of living is in large part a result of learning to do old things in new ways --- such as education.

So instead of clinging to the traditional and largely wasteful time consuming all-day, every day, butts in the seat approach, why not adopt a new way of learning and teaching --- the blended method enabled by technology today?

Of course, the status quo defenders will oppose this. Meanwhile, our too costly system of education gets worse with each passing day.

And there we have the age old conflict which arises whenever we try to adopt a new and improved way in place of clinging to the old. It's clinging to the devil we know versus accepting the fear that comes with trying the unknown.

The status quo bureaucracy and political powers that be are always aligned against We the People who wish only progress, productivity and better results for our families and society as a whole. In this case, that's a better education and more knowledge as a foundation for a life well lived.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in writing Founding Principles in the Digital Age, has this to say about achieving better results and greater productivity in education by the adoption of a blended methodology embracing technology:

"Something important happened in education last month. The College Board announced a new design for the SAT exam. And in doing so the organization made a commitment that every student who takes the new exam will read a passage from America's founding documents or the great global conversation they inspired. This news was eclipsed by another important announcement: The College Board and Khan Academy—a nonprofit digital education platform—will partner to provide "free, world-class test prep" for the new exam.

These changes may sound unrelated, but they represent a fascinating paradox in education today: What is old in education has never been more important, but it may take what is new in education to truly prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Teaching the Constitution and the nation's other foundational texts is as old as public education itself. America's public schools were founded on the idea that education is vital to the success of democracy. But these texts are demanding and complex. Understanding them takes hard work and concentration. The effort is invaluable, though, not least because it instills the discipline that will equip young people with the knowledge and the habits of mind necessary to become powerful actors in civic life.

Millions of students taking the SAT will now encounter texts like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well as the writings of individuals from James Madison to Martin Luther King Jr. But old test-prep methods like flashcards and rote memorization will not be sufficient. Students will need more sophisticated tools to help them understand the material and engage with it. Digital technology will be essential to achieving that goal.

For today's students, learning can happen anytime, anywhere. Digital resources are growing more intuitive, more personalized and more affordable. With real-time assessments, teachers can identify how each student learns, where improvement is needed, and which learning strategies work best. New technologies allow students to learn from materials tailored to their progress, tied to clear academic standards and accompanied by constant, actionable feedback.

Blended learning—combining digital tools with supervised instruction—incorporates the best of what teachers do with the support of instructional technologies that help strengthen the time that teachers spend with their students. This kind of blended learning is particularly effective for tackling difficult subject matter.

Progress has always been about a tension between the old and the new. The rapidly changing world has made the age-old skills of deep reading and command of historical documents more important than ever. And the very accelerant of these changes—technology—provides the opportunity to more effectively teach and learn those timeless disciplines."

Summing Up

Finding new and better ways to do old things always makes sense to me. And that's especially true for educating our young people to better compete in a more competitive world.

That said, however, the public school officials and teachers' unions won't like the common sense based blended learning idea put forth by Sandra Day O'Connor -- not one little bit.

But there's nothing new about that.

And here's something else that's not new. The school officials and union leadership have the undivided attention of the politicians --- unfortunately.

So don't hold your breath waiting for the blended learning approach to be adopted in your community any time soon.

And that's just another way in which politics sucks.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment