In a world where knowledge is changing and progressing faster than one can imagine it is crucial as educators of the future generations to step back and begin to look at and question the teaching methods we are using in education today. The students that I am teaching are growing up in a very different time than even I was raised what seems like not that long ago. When I begin to think back at my short teaching career much has changed already in the seven years I have been an educator. I already am finding that my practice is changing from the way I was educated in University a short time ago. The readings and videos shared this week have me looking at my approach to teaching these next generations and questioning how I can do better in my classroom to teach in this digital age. It made me begin to think about what Alec called our “moral imperative” and how I need to shift my teaching even if its outside of my comfort zone to ensure that I am serving my students and giving them the skills that they will need in order to be successful in our ever changing world.
In the Ted X video Knowledge is Obsolete Pavan Arora shares the statistic “65% grade school children will have jobs that don’t exist today”. This statistic is proof that we must continue to change and adapt our teaching practices to give these students the skills they need to be successful in the future. He shares how we are becoming a world where knowledge is obsolete and the value of knowledge is rapidly dropping because of the rate that knowledge is changing, how quickly human knowledge is growing and because of the immediate access we now have to knowledge at our finger tips at any given moment. He continues to talk about how education has changed from when we were students. When we were students we were expected to memorize facts so we could regurgitate them on exams to share what knowledge we had successfully memorized. Now students have access to finding out these facts at any given moment. Now students can search for the answer of any question and find the most recent updated facts about that question at any given moment. Why in the world are we having children listen to lectures and memorize facts if they can access any information at any given time?
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As teachers it is important that instead of teaching students the facts we are teaching them the skills in order to find out their curiosities and wonders instead of forcing them to learn information they are not interested in. Michael Wesh in his Ted X video From Knowledgeable to Knowledge- Able refers to this as moving from students being ‘Knowledgeable’ towards students being ‘Knowledge-able’. He shares how teachers need to move away from students being knowledgeable which he refers to teachers “dumping information on students” and move towards being knowledge- able which he refers to “students having the skills to find, sort, analyze and create their own knowledge”. He also talks about the next step which is teaching students ‘Knowledge- ability’. He refers to this as “students being able to embrace real world problems that they don’t have the answers to by using relevant tools to solve them”. He shares how students need to be involved in their own learning and that the teachers are not the authority in their learning that they are in the drivers seat of their own learning.
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As educators of future generations we need to understand our role in preparing these students for the rapid changing world they will work and live in. We need to ensure that we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones in education and allow students to take initiative in their learning. As a teacher I am committed to working in my classroom to create an environment that will help my students become ‘knowledge-able’ and provide them with experiences where they can find and create their own knowledge. This is an opportunity as a teacher to learn from my students and allow then to bring their prior knowledge to my classroom and allow them to take me on their learning journey as they learn to navigate building knowledge with the help of technology to help find the answers to their wonders and desires in learning.
I think back to my childhood and the bookshelf of encyclopedias that my family had in our living room. My sister and I would often flip through these reading and looking for information about any given topic. Not once would my parents have ever stopped us from looking and learning using these books. I think about that comparison to my students using google to search and find information about any given topic. Why would we ever limit them from searching for or looking up information to further their knowledge. As educators we need t allow them the freedom to look, explore and create their own knowledge. To think that our students can find and teach themselves about anything at any given moment is truly amazing. As a teacher I want to give my students as much opportunity to engage with technology so they can become the makers of their own knowledge.
Photo Credit: Katie Welsh