Guest Blog entry by Miguel Guhlin…did Wes REALLY mean to be gone a week?

Catching up on my feeds after a 3-day illness, I about fell out of my chair when I read the following at Cool Cat Teacher’s Blog. Her title is “Don’t let the flux of technology make your curriculum irrelevant.” Forgive the long quote, but it is powerful to imagine that our children–caught in the flux of technology today–are MORE educated than our Congressmen. It flips the idea on its ear that they’re are helpless, uneducated and at our mercy as adults. It is EMPOWERING to read this, to realize that our children ARE NOT less educated, but rather, more so.

One student responded to our classroom discussion [about DOPA] by calling the Congressmen who supported this legislation “uneducated.”I ask, here we have Congressmen, many of who are at the top of their field, and a tenth grader is calling them “uneducated.” Why is that? If we are going to live in this state of flux created by our increasing dependence on technology, we are going to have to devise methods to “educate” the masses of people in this country and around the world…I believe that whereas the curriculum model may have worked relatively well for classical subjects, the technology curriculum (and technological tools used in the traditional core) need a delivery method that work well in a state of flux.

With this in mind, Cool Cat challenges the statists (channelling Wes here ) to become more dynamist, to leave behind the status quo, and embrace what the Librarian in Black calls “textcasting technologies.”

Will this exuberance and enthusiasm be enough? Having seen the masses of superintendents, curriculum directors, specialists, legislators, all caught up in keeping the irrelevant curriculum alive, burning heretics at the stake, how can anyone imagine a future less bleak? Yet, we must take heart. Consider the lesson of the Spanish Inquisition…wait, you need not search the web. Instead, use this resource instead. You do not need others, this ONE will do just fine. (wink)

After about 1700 it [Spanish Inquisition] was a feeble shadow of its former self but limped on for over another hundred years until 1835 when it was suppressed for the last time. The various other Inquisitions of Sicily, the New World and Venice disappeared in the decades around 1800, finally killed off by the Napoleonic Wars.

With that time-table in mind, let’s allow ourselves the idea that this will all become normal in a few short centuries. If we can learn nothing from the pace of technology, let’s acknowledge the fact we’re not all driving steam engines to work. Let’s admit that the pace of change is slow, so why get all excited about it? Instead, let’s work to foster higher order thinking skills, moderately encourage the use of technology–but not so much that it threatens the status quo–knowing that the tidal wave is coming.

The tidal wave?

Our children.

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2 Responses to Flux

  1. Vicki Davis says:

    This is an excellent post. I particularly love the link to Wes’ article that puts it all in perspective.

    It is amazing how so many answers to our future can be seen in history books.

  2. Miguel —

    You are right — the “tidal wave” is coming… These children, the tidal wave that will bring more dynamic change, are already in college or, in a few cases (especially in Texas) out of college and are angry about the wasted time spent preparing for tests instead of being engaged in relevant learning experiences.

    I’ve heard students (and heard other educators say they’ve heard similar statements from other college students) who complain about spending whole semesters (and thousands of dollars) paying for remedial classes because their high schools only focused on the TAKS/TAAS test instead of preparing them for post-secondary education/careers.

    As we graduate more students from high schools who are unprepared for higher academics or careers — we will graduate more and more young adults who will be angry at this current education system and who will seek to change it through their voting and their selection of schools for their own children.

    Combine this with business leaders desperate for workers who can think critically, work independently, use technological tools and equipment, and be productive members of teams…

    Yes, the tidal wave is coming… And some of us are waxing our surf boards (teaching those higher level thinking skills, modeling and gently pushing technology use, promoting forward-thinking, being “change agents”, etc.)… 🙂

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