Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plains Pops: Classroom Changes Edition

I'm ambivalent about the changes covered in these articles and editorials, but each article points to interesting experimentation.

Sunday's Argus Leader covers rural schools that will be doing some innovative staffing and engaging in project based learning.  On Monday, the Argus Leader editorializes in favor of the plan but issues the following warning.
But it's a plan that needs to be watched carefully - and the results must be measured before deciding whether this is the right kind of innovation. While it's true that you can find almost anything online, you can also find bad information, poor sourcing and less-than-excellent research.
Students must learn not only how to find information, but how to filter it.That's important in the real world as well as the classroom.
But can the new system do that?
Today, Andrew Sullivan points to a Clive Thompson article about the Khan Academy.  As tempted as I am to do a Star Trek allusion, the Khan Academy is a bit more pedestrian; it uses YouTube lessons.

As I said earlier, I'm ambivalent about these changes.  Education needs to change. It certainly needs to change its use of testing.  One goes to a doctor to get a test to diagnose not evaluate.  Education needs to use testing in the same way.

It needs to get more personal and offer more student options. Many of the reforms highlighted in these articles do that.

On the other hand, many of these reforms seem to be based on the idea that anyone can teach and that students can educate themselves.  I'm not sure reforms that remove good teachers from the situation will work.

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