Just read @timbuckteeth‘s blog post entitled One Step Beyond and I find myself facing this conundrum. The post says – “Set the Kids’ free” – you know all this social media, networking, connecting beyond the classroom can in effect be made use of for learning. And that is fine. I totally agree. In an ideal world that is the way it should be. And the tools are there. The setting is there. The learner culture is there. Even the teacher culture is somehow there. I mean if I ask any one of the teachers in a local school whether they have facebook accounts and whether they are active users, I stand a good chance that about 90% of them will say they do. And that’s saying a lot – even in this era of social living – for this tiny island.
So well the question is… why not? Why is this not happening? If the settings are all there, why would teachers very possibly turn to me and say – “THAT is in the IDEAL world. This is not. This is the real world – where we go into a class and teaching is kept within these walls anyway”.
So this is the conundrum right? Maybe I am generalising, but I do have a lot of contact with teachers, my husband being one of them. When I listen to them speak, discuss, lament…about their daily mishaps I notice that a) many have no awareness of their limits (of what they can or cannot do within the classroom and beyond) and b) many have no awareness. Fullstop.
Teachers or educators, most often feel very much obliged to follow what some administrators, dictate on paper. Maybe they think it’s all a matter of student assessment and grades. Many feel they are judged as competent, depending on the grades the students get. I think we are past that. Many students are past caring for grades. Employers are past looking at certificates… most can be acquired so easily these days. Politicians are past caring and that’s it. So in reality it’s up to the teachers to control the way they teach and they learn… gamification? why not? why not apply game design rules to the classroom? why not become more connected – more immersed in the social living – and bring a little bit of the classroom to the outside? Maybe people are scared – who knows? But then again who wouldn’t feel some kind of slight apprehension at change.
Who will tell the teachers that they can wake up from their time warp and can start breathing some life into the classroom? … diplomatically – of course.