Saturday, February 17, 2007

Are we ready?

How are we going to prepare students for jobs in the future that do not even exist yet? How much has our job changed in just the last 5 years and with what is expected of a school changing every day, is it impossible to keep up? The following was posted in a blog I recently read:

I posed the question - What if you were to stand at the front of your class, on the first day of a new unit, provide them with a list of learning outcomes and say “Here is what you need to know, how are you going to go about it?” --Conversations on Change
Questions like this one are a step in the right direction. This is the way we have to begin thinking, for our kids sake. They will be required to deal with volumes of information and be asked to soft, classify, validate, synthesize and connect to the pertinent stuff and disregard the rest. Where is this skill being taught? It certainly is not something that students just inherently understand. Students are very savvy technologically but it is an unfocused savvy. This is not their fault but it is a reality. They have been born into an environment that spews information from every which way, but have not been given the proper filter system. Start a dialogue with a student about what constitutes a valid web source or even about the ways in which the student can filter information and you will be amazed at how little experience they have doing this.

If we are going to service our students properly, we have to start asking these questions and start thinking about ways to provide them with a filter of their own. This means, however, we have to start brushing up on our own savvy and being open to all this field of technology has to offer.


Barbara said...

I agree on both counts..we need to rethink the curriculum and we need to teach digital literacy skills.Earlier this year we gave our 7th and 8th graders a quiz from November Learning about basic digital literacy. The results astounded me. Even though they all have the internet, Ipods etc... their understanding of the web was very limited. The first question asks you to name three major search engines and they were stumped. It did not take long to get them up to speed but it did take some deliberate instruction.

Kelly Christopherson said...

Well said! As an administrator, I look around and see that things are changing at an accellerated rate but many of the staff are content to continue doing what they did before. Sometimes it is this way because we teach in a small town and technology appears to take time to get here - which isn't really the case but it is not as "in your face" as it is in larger urban centers. However, we are starting to see the younger students using cellphones and have other gadgets. However, as you say, they need to be instructed in being information savvy and then creating not just regurgitate it. We have the tools but we still have a long way to go.