Does ‘discovery learning’ prepare Alberta students for the 21st century or will it toss out a top tier education system?

Tristin Hopper, Creative Commons, Mar 04, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The National Post has never been one to objectively present a story, and it doesn't do so here, but reading between the lines (and a so-called "prominent critic of discovery learning") we have the good news here that Alberta officials have "vowed that the “traditional” teaching methods of textbooks-and-chalkboards will be dead, replaced instead by a unstructured system design to craft 'engaged thinkers,' 'ethical citizens' and 'entrepreneurial spirits.'" I'm not sure why the newspaper would be so blatant in its support of the older approach (unless it's to sell textbooks). The same approach has been adopted elsewhere in Canada, and the nation continues to outperform most of the world on standardized tests despite a much broader curriculum. Oh, but you have to love the way the Post spins the news ("'We’re changing everything,' says a perky voice in a two-minute Government of Alberta video outlining the new program.")

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