Monday, August 14, 2006

Choice and Education

Mark Glasser at MediaShift, "your guide to the digital media revolution", has some nice comparisons of the old v. new ways of looking at media and its relationship with consumers.

Remixing marketing messages so they apply to education is nothing new, but one of his comparisons really struck a cord for me.
Oldthink: Reading, listening or watching [i.e. learning] on the schedules set by [teachers] and [school districts].
Newthink: Getting the information, news and entertainment [students] want, when [they] want it, on the device [they] want it, with or without [teachers/classroom/instruction/whathaveyou].

I know this is certainly the way I prefer to learn. What does a classroom, school, district, curriculum need to look like to accommodate this shift? Certainly, bans on cell phones (as much as I hate them personally), social networking sites, and anything else coming down the pipe will only serve to push students away from the classroom.

I go back and forth on the issue of whether schools will even be around in the next twenty years. I see the value of the social aspect of learning, of schools being a place to gather with a purpose; however, if some schools make the shift and others don't, I do see those that fail to shift disappearing into irrelevance as students choose the schools that stop trying to restrict their learning.