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Our Classrooms are Irrelevant, not obsolete!

Boys with CamerasI just posted my 50th podcast episode, a look at the future of education. As part of the program, I included some recordings that I did at three conferences and workshops in New York and Texas this month. I asked educators to pretend that they were walking into their classrooms in 2015, ten years from now, and to describe what they see that is different.

I was pleased with the answers, especially considering that they had only a couple of minutes to think about it — and considering that most teachers are struggling to get through the day.

I continue to be disturbed, however, by the number of educators who predict that the classroom will go away, that they will teach their students through the networks, each from their own homes or other places of preference. Certainly this is technologically feasible and certainly some teaching and learning happens very well through the digital lenses that are our computers and networks. But, is doing away with classrooms what we really want?

Technology works best when it is connecting, not when it separates. We have the potential today to put students into direct contact with a global library of information, and the power not only to access but to twist and turn, uncover, and discover with that information, to construct new knowledge and new information products, and share them with the world. This is the measure of the distances that can be spanned by technology.

However, believing that with technology, we can educate our children without bringing them together, uses technology to separate, not connect us.

I may just be old fashioned — a romantic. But the electricity that happens in the eye contact between teacher and student is what brings to life, a world of wonder and opportunity.

What do you think?


  • jerrie.cheek

    Hi David,

    Congratulations on your 50th podcast!!!!……..I TRY to keep up with you through your blog and podcast sites……Thanks
    again for your participation in the GaETC as one of my featured speaker…….We will do it again!!! Jerrie

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  • http://www.visitmyclass.com/blogs/wenzloff jimw


    I have been reading your blog for some time and enjoy it. I find the font you use on your blog to be hard to read on my computer. I don’t know if it is just me, but the kearning on the letters is to small. Letter touch each other which is distracting to me.

    Just a passing comment.


  • http://hent.blogspot.com/ roger

    I agree David. Technology and indeed learning and teaching is about connecting and relationships. Over the last couple of years my year 11/12 students have often told me:

    * They see school as a kind of “home” where they can have long term relationships in a safe environment.

    * The social aspects of school are just as important as learning – more important for some.

    * The online forums give them a voice they don’t have in class.

    * They would be lost in such a large school without email/sms to reach friends.

    I have found the school’s online forums for example actually create opportunities for face-to-face meetings for students with similar interests. The students started an online “coffee-shop” forum for social chat outside topic threads and then organised f-t-f meetings at real coffee shops to continue conversations.

    In my own teaching I have mirrors (and extensions) of f-t-f classes online and both run in parallel – whether I’m in class, in my staffroom or at home. In fact there are usually students online most hours of the day and most days of the week. I suspect having an online component to my classes actually increases the time for, and quality of, f-t-f interactions.

    So for both me and my students ICT has added a new and complementary dimension to learning and teaching and relationships.

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Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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Books Written

Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network
2nd Edition (2012)

Redefining Literacy 2.0 (2008)
Classroom Blogging
(2007) • Lulu
• Amazon
Raw Materials for the Mind

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