Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Researchers Question School in High-Tech Age

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
A standard education-reform article citing Don Tapscott, every newspaper's favorite tech author. The usual stuff, but I want to focus on this (I know you've seen it before): "Dentists, doctors and other professionals asleep for 100 years would awake, he says, to a world where they would not recognize their jobs, much less perform them. But in education, a teacher could walk into a classroom after a century and get busy."

That's just not true. Doesn't anyone think about what conditions were like 100 years ago? This infamous Rules for Teachers document is probably fake, but things like electricity, school buses, indoor plumbing, and even textbooks would all have been considered new technology - if they were available at all. Teachers had to defend teaching impractical skills, like reading and writing, to a generation of children of illiterate parents. A contemporary teacher would be as flummoxed - and stymied - by the attitudes and expectations of Victorian society. Free public schooling was a brand new idea and innovations like subject-based teaching had just been introduced. Don't believe people who say schooling has never changed - it has changed more fundamentally than almost every other discipline.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jul 14, 2024 4:59 p.m.

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