I joined a 1000 educators recently for the annual Quest conference in Toronto. Hosted by the York District Public Schools Board, this conference is widely regarded as a ‘must attend’ event in Canada with a large international contingent.
Researcher and author, Don Tapscott gave the opening keynote and mapped the issues with precision. He spoke about the industrial model of schooling in the context of mass media, mass production and mass distribution. All of these share similar characteristics – one size fits all; recipient is passive.
The point that Don was making is that we don’t refer to ‘mass’ anymore in a collaborative world. News and information is personalised and accessible anywhere, anytime. Since we’re no longer recipients but co-creators, we need to see schooling differently.
Technology isn’t the singular cause of change, it’s the relationship between student/teacher and the learning process.
Don’s advice to educators and school leaders:
- It’s not a blame game. Everyone shares responsibility including parents. Teachers can make the change if they are well supported and resourced.
- Focus on life-long learning not teaching to the test
- Use technology to get to know your students
- Leaders are those people in your community who look for new solutions (e.g parents, teachers, admin staff). Leaders also have to engage with the technologies – become a blogger, edit a wikipedia entry, use a wiki.
- Learn from and challenge young people – don’t make learning a one way experience.