The latest chatter in traditional education circles is all about getting on the latest technology bus: social media. Yes indeed. Taking a 180 degree tack, schools who were only interested in blocking websites are now embracing them, encouraging students and staff to make use of the latest savior of schools: facebook, twitter, digg, and a wide range of sites and online services.
This is clearly reported here: http://www.edweek.org//dd/articles/2010/06/16/03networking.h03.html
You can read about how one teacher “sets up a meeting between classes [in different countries] using Skype. Students prepare a list of questions (What’s the weather like there? How big is your town or city? What continent are you on?) and chat with students in Canada, Finland, New Zealand, and Spain, among a long list of others.” Yes? And this is somehow going to make for a rich and meaningful educational experience? They couldn’t find this information out before? Somehow talking to other children far away is going to truly shape developing self?
It’s a sad thing to observe the world of traditional education once again grabbing onto the latest “thing” as a fix to all the problems or as something to really improve the educational experience of children. Here’s statement from a while back “The central and dominant aim of education by [this new technology]” said reformed Benjamin Darrow, “is to bring the world to the classrooms, to make universally available the services of the finest teachers, the inspiration of the greatest leaders and unfolding world events which through [this new medium] may come as a vibrant and challenging textbook of the air”.
Was Mr. Darrow speaking about the internet? NO. What about television? NO. This was a statement from an education reformer from the early 1920’s… talking about, yes, the brave new world of RADIO and how it would revolutionize education.
We’ve seen that neither radio, nor television, nor the internet has served as an educational golden arrow. None of these, just as social media today, made a difference worth talking about in how children are effectively prepared for living their lives. Ultimate prep school: that’s the name of this blog, because education should be about preparing one to live one’s life – that’s the ULTIMATE thing to be “prepped” for. Why did none of these new technologies make a difference? Because they are window dressing on a tired, decrepit system that has rotted from the inside out.
Hence, again, the need for FUNDAMENTAL change, fundamental retooling. A serious reassessment of what education is considered to be and how we go about it is what is required. Nothing less will do and nothing less is what we owe to the millions of children going to “school” every day.