Friday, July 26, 2013

Learning in a Digital Reality

"Students still need guidance, so that part of the job is still very much relevant. Students also need knowledge to be explained, and shown how it all fits together. In other words, teachers and schools are still required"

The above statement serves as the standard apology for the school paradigm. It is almost mandatory to be included in some form in any article or video that calls for a new way of learning or you will be branded a radical with nothing to say. It is what prevents and real change from taking place. The classroom of school where things are explained and fit together in the patterns of prevailing world view needs to give way to a conversation where information is fit together in a collective analysis. School was not friendly to Einstein, to Bill Gates, to Steve Jobs, to Ken Robinson. The essential power that human beings now have to access the sum total of human knowledge from their hand (smart phone) make school, as it is presently professionally organized, not only irrelevant, but a hindrance to human creativity.

"Information is now available to anyone who is connected, and is available practically whenever they want." is a brilliant insight that does not need to be apologized for. We no longer need a professional teacher class teaching a fixed body of knowledge. We need to share the code of the alphabet and other literacies with learners and join them in the social construction of reality through past experiences, present data input, and future rearranging of the elements of reality. We do not need to learn to think outside of the box, we need to throw the box away. When ever you are thinking about learning revolutions and school reflect on this statement from Montaigne.

For, in truth, custom is a violent and treacherous schoolmistress. She, by little and little, slily and unperceived, slips in the foot of her authority, but having by this gentle and humble beginning, with the benefit of time, fixed and established it, she then unmasks a furious and tyrannic countenance, against which we have no more the courage or the power so much as to lift up our eyes. We see her, at every turn, forcing and violating the rules of nature: "Usus efficacissimus rerum omnium magister." -Montaigne