The Future of Education Published 2007-06-02 under

In a recent posting, I reviewed a study where students expressed their belief that technology (laptops in particular) did not have a place in the classroom. They like the traditional, intimate, class setting. More importantly, the study pointed out just because students use technology (all of the time) outside the classroom, does not necessarily mean that they want the same technology within the class.

While I had issues with parts of the study, I thought that this was an excellent read as I head into the Future of Education Conference put on by George Siemens and the University of Manitoba. This online conference began with a "pre-conference" discussion that asked the questions of participants "What will education look like in 10 years".

I was struck by one particular comment by Hayden Blackly: "...the technology seems to act as a different way of doing something within an existing pedagogic framework. So the tools are different but the learning objectives and the learning outcomes may be the same." Hayden admits to being a bit "less optimistic" about change in our schools. (I wonder why???) But his point is well taken.

Many of the responses have been in the lines of what technology will be prevalent in future educational systems. Some have talked about pedagogical changes including social networks, independent learning approaches, portfolio assessment and constructive knowledge. But I wonder if our educational system is ready to have these kind of discussions, or should be be having a more fundamental discussion of what we value in an education?

A friend admitted that for the next three weeks of class, she is basically a babysitter. Now that the students have taken their standardized tests, they are focusing on their end of the year performances. This is a high school geared toward the performing arts, but what message are we giving students when we stop learning once the test has been taken. Is the goal of education to pass the test?

This example continues through out our schools. How many AP classes end once their students take the exam? How many students see summer vacation as a time when learning stops? Who hasn't entered a class to the question "do we have to do anything today?"

I am looking forward to the FOE online conference. And I hope that it will include a discussion of what we (as a society) value in education.

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