Learning to change – watch it and make up your mind.

There’s a bit of debate flying around the edublogosphere regarding this video. It’s healthy debate, because it’s questioning the motivations of the group that put this video together. I always think it’s healthy when people look beyond the surface and delve for deep understanding. These are the very skills we are hoping we will impart to our students to ensure that they become well rounded citizens of the world. Good modelling all round.

Most of the debate stems from Chris Lehmann’s blog post  Pearson presents: Learning to Change.

Chris has problems with the video for a number of reasons, and you’d probably be best served by following the link and reading what he has to say. One of the points he made that rang true for me was this;

And I don’t know… perhaps under it all, I have a sense that these folks think, “If we just change it all up, the kids will all suddenly just start learning like crazy” when that misses several points — 1) we still have an insanely anti-intellectual culture that is so much more powerful than schools. 2) Deep learning is still hard, and our culture is moving away from valuing things that are hard to do. 3) We still need teachers to teach kids thoughtfulness, wisdom, care, compassion, and there’s an anti-teacher rhetoric that, to me, undermines that video’s message.

It’s point three that resonates deep with me. What underpins all good teaching and learning (IMHO) is the formation of relationships. I firmly believe that no child will learn anything from me until I’ve shown them that I’m interested in them and what they have to say. Without passionate teachers, who realise that teaching the whole person is vital, no Web 2.0 tool is going to make any huge difference to learning outcomes. The tools can make the learning more interesting and can provide them with useful skills, but they still need guidance and purpose to direct the learning that needs to take place. There’s my sermon from the mount for today!

Chris questions the motivation of the creators of the video,  Pearson Learning, a company that has a web based formative assessment testing system and reporting tool. He asks us to consider if we should be paying attention to a message from a company with a vested interest in us using the web for learning. It’s a must read post – make sure you read the comment thread that follows for more interesting discussion. Here’s what I posted in response;

Great post. I’ve seen this video at numerous blog sites over the past week and none had made mention of the production company behind it. I still like it, because I think it makes people think about the shifts that need to happen if we are going to enable our students to become fully digital literate and make the most of what the web can offer. I do think you highlight an important point – this shift is not going to be easy and we do need to focus on the learning as our most important motivation rather than communication for communications sake. I’m going to watch your keynote – interested in what you have to say.
Thanks Chris for prompting me to think and probe deeper. It’s vitally important that we remember to not always take things at face value but to question and explore. These are digital literacy skills we all need to have; both we as educators and our students. I stand by what I said in my comment – I still like this video and the things it is saying to us. I think it will assist in making people think and help to make the shift happen. I just won’t be looking at it through the same rose coloured glasses that I was wearing last week when I first saw it.

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