Tuesday, 12 April 2011
M4T-A: An Open Letter to Educators
The young man in the video “An Open Letter to Educators” claims that he left university not because he was no longer interested in learning, but because he felt institutional education was interfering with his education.
He points out that information is no longer in the hands of a few. It is now accessible to everyone and, therefore, education can no longer be centered on simply imparting facts (which are now just a click away), and expecting students to memorize and then regurgitate them when testing time comes.
I believe he is right. This information era calls for new literacies. With the information overload we are exposed to, it is essential that students be taught how to look for, filter, analyse, evaluate, organise and apply information. This involves higher order thinking skills that go beyond just storing, remembering and recalling facts.
So what’s the role of educators in view of this paradigm shift? Incorporating technology in our classrooms is not enough if it does not serve a meaningful purpose and is supported by a sound pedagogy. Rather than spoon-feeding our students, we should seek to empower them to make the most of the tools and resources at their disposal. As Albin Toffler puts it, we must prepare them “to learn, unlearn and relearn”, to think creatively so that they can keep abreast in a fast changing world. But how can we prepare them for that if we are not ready to embrace change ourselves?