Living through the age of the decline of knowledge
Where does education go when knowledge is no longer the prime asset in the world?
How do you approach a classroom full of students able to Google any question you throw at them? We can choose to ignore this or we can embrace it, and this is the battleground that education has found itself in. Schools are technology laden places these days, and while they’re reaching for the future they find themselves, often unceremoniously planted in the past due to the system imposed on them.
What if you could flip the switch and make school more like real life? I read about the Lumiar School way back in 2013 and have been inspired ever since. The learning in their institute is built entirely around project based learning, a cross curriculum approach that sees students develop multiple competencies completing modules. One module teaches students mathematical concepts such as Pi (amongst other things) by having them design, manufacture and build a bike. This is perfect real life learning, because you can’t correctly manufacture the wheels for a bike if you don’t understand Pi.
While we can’t transpose this bike building module into the UK curriculum we can borrow the principal underpinning it - project based learning. Lumiar School is made possible by the collaboration and communication opportunities their ICT systems have given them. UK schools are technology rich and there’s nothing stopping the exploration of collaboration and communication opportunities to better learning. There’s no need to start manufacturing bikes in schools up and down the country. The existing curriculum is rich with opportunities for development through technology, and the greatest asset any teacher has is their discretion in how they deliver lessons. The next time you have a difficult concept to teach students, or you need to prep them for an upcoming test give them that challenge. Put them in small groups, give them one mobile device (iPad, tablet, laptop or Chromebook) and tell them to develop a 3 minute video highlighting what they believe are the key principals of that topic. You’ll be amazed at what they are capable of.
The key to living through the age of the decline of knowledge is to simply acknowledge it. Don’t fight it. No one ever fought and won. Many give it a good go, and I see posts each week going out on social media waxing lyrically about the negatives of technology in the classroom. I don’t engage in these debates because ultimately, like fighting against change, it’s a huge waste of time that I can spend elsewhere in a positive manner. Instead adapt. While knowledge is in decline the ability to find it is more valuable than ever before.
We are now in the age of problem solving. How will you solve yours?