More on The New Story

Dean Shareski posted an interesting blog entry this week in Ideas and Thoughts from an EdTech about telling the new story. The title of his post is “Telling the Old Story”. Unfortunately, there appears to be a problem with his WordPress and I was unable to post this reply. So I just thought I would doctor it up a bit, and post it here.

In the entry, Dean includes a quote from the monthly newspaper of his provincial teachers association, describing the experiences of a teacher who was using technology in one of the projects that she has her students do each year. The quote closed with…

Zakaluzny explained that when her students had done similar activities in the past, many of them became frustrated if they made a mistake because trying to correct mistakes usually means beginning the activity again.When using technology, however, it is easy to alter the size of words, move graphics around, or insert more content without having to start over. Zakaluzny commented that students not only enjoyed this lesson, but also put more time and energy into making their posters just right.

I think that the example that Shareski used is right on target in illustrating the problem with the “Integrating Technology” story. Now that students are using computers and the Internet as a tool for their learning, and, oh yes, they’re enjoying it more and spending more time and energy on their work — we have integrated technology. We can relax now.

I’m afraid that we can never relax again, at least when it comes to continually retooling our classrooms and re-crafting our students’ learning experiences. Now here, I’m going to chide Dean just a bit. It’s what he asked for in his post. Dean says that we need a…

…new story about how learning happens, how technology changes the nature of teaching and learning.

This is absolutely correct. However, I think that the story that is going to change our classrooms into ever improving and adapting learning engines will come from outside the classroom. These stories should be told outside the classroom, and they should be told from an outside the classroom perspective.

Its not so much that technology has changed the nature of teaching and learning, but that technology has changed the nature of information and how the world works, and how people work and learn and play. Because the world that we are preparing our children for is changing so dramatically (and continuing to change), we must rethink the what, how, and why we are teaching our children, and retool our classrooms to accomplish new goals.

The stories will come from forward thinking educators. But we need to get those stories out into the public, and get parents, neighbors, school board members, legislators, and even presidents telling those stories.

I think that we should start working now on some new stories, and set a target of having a list of good stories available for Open House next year. We can make them available to teachers and ask them to select one or two of these short “did you know that…” stories to tell to their parents at open house, and to post them regularly on their classroom web sites.

I guess I need to put together a Wiki. Give me until next week. I’m home today, but off to the NSBA conference for the rest of the week and into the weekend. This could be an interesting project.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.