School today VS Pew Internet advice

Sometimes I feel disconnected from other teachers. I think this happens when you envision a different future, away from pen and paper teaching and exams.

A recent conversation brought this home to me. I was advocating for an eportfolio contributed to by the students themselves, and the argument against me was for paper copies evidencing student achievement. The point being made was that the final exams students will face are pen and paper driven, so these were the examples teachers wanted to use for reference purposes. A comment was made to the effect of, “You come from a different world Jenny”.

Maybe I do. Maybe what I advocate is off the mark. It’s just that I don’t think that it is. I think I’m forward thinking and I think I’m advocating for the kind of world and workforce our graduating students will encounter. Regardless of whether or not they complete a pen and paper end of year exam.

I came across slides from Lee Rainie today, who was supposed to keynote at the VALA conference here in Melbourne, but was detained by inclement weather conditions in the United States. Lee is Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project and his presentation was for a public library audience. There is much in the presentation that can be applied to school libraries; it goes someway to addressing the skills we need to be imparting to our students. Lee’s slides and accompanying speech (linked to in this post) discussed the democratization of media and the rise of user-generated content. Take a look at the slides and see if you make the connection.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “School today VS Pew Internet advice

  1. dskmag

    Bang on Jenny. The world you are able to access (as are youth online) is the metaverse.

    You have a presence in many of it’s virtual-districts as you move about.

    You are thinking critically about how ‘social’ intersects cognitive and teaching, while the exam-brains only see an intersection between teacher and cognitive. In what I’ve see you do, you lead the students and create a climate for learning. You allow them to use ‘social’ to discuss, think, negotiate and communicate. I don’t think you are on another planet – but you have three powerful elements underpinning your thinking and work, where as exam-brains see two – and increasingly, the pre-occupation is not with learning, but kicking out high-grades – by predicting and working to ‘the test’.

    What I find interesting is that you are ‘out there’ with this stuff, so somewhere in the ruling-minds at your school, some of it is sinking in.

    Going back to the old-planet? I don’t think so.

  2. Andrew Blackwell

    Hey this is exactly what I was saying last year to you about the Jerr McGuire comment I made. You could replace all of your “I” thoughts with “We”. That is everyone who follows you all agree that what we are doing is the right thing for our future. Keep it up!

  3. Alissa

    Jenny thanks for your blog – I have only just discovered it and am an avid follower now! I know it’s lonely leading from the front but as a friend and mentor once said to me, ‘as long as you’re doing it for the kids that’s all that matters’. We fear change instead of embracing it. It sure looks to me like you’re on the right track! ‘If you build it they will come’ – some just might take a while.

  4. Alissa

    Love your blog Jenny, have only just started reading but it always provides food for thought. Although it is lonely leading from the front sometimes it doesn’t make it any less valid or imperative. As a mentor of mine once told me as long as your students are at the center of what you are doing you know you are on the right track. You are definitely on the right track! Just remember: if you build it they will come (some might just take a little longer ;-)

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