Monday, September 05, 2011

is classroom technology worth the investment?

The jury is still out. The broad assumption has been that investing billions in computer technology and software would pay off big time in student test scores... but hey, it really isn't working yet. Is Technology Necessary for Learning?

Actually, there is high tech, there is low tech, and there is appropriate technology, and part of the challenge of education is determining which fits where and in what order.

Otto Salomon, in the Theory of educational sloyd laid out the guiding principles for learning. Move from the known to the unknown, from the easy to the more difficult, from the simple to the complex, and from the concrete to the abstract. There is little wrong with high tech that low tech and appropriate tech in the right hands can't fix. Give students tools of all kinds in the order that allows for their growth and then expect them not just to learn, but to DO wonderful things. Ask them to solve real problems working with teams under the guidance of artists and craftsmen.

Here, by the way, is more about the educational system in Finland: The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World’s Most Surprising School System – VIDEO Tony Wagner of Harvard says:
“There is no domestic testing except a very quiet auditing program to test demographic samples of kids; not for accountability, not for public consumption, and not for comparison across schools. The fascinating thing is that because they have created such a high level of professionalism, they can trust their teachers. Their motto is “Trust Through Professionalism.

The difference between the highest performing school in Finland and the lowest performing school in Finland is less than four percent, and that’s without any testing at all…

Finland is rated among the highest in the world in innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. It’s not your grandfather’s socialist country in any sense of the word.
Now, why the heck can't we learn a few things about that?

Today I'm preparing for my first students in wood shop tomorrow. They will begin sharpening chisels to prepare for cutting their first hand cut dovetails. In the photo above is my new set up tool for setting plane knives and chisels in the sharpening jig. It provides easy reference for a consistent measure of 30 degrees in the angle between the blade and sharpening stone. Since we are starting out with new chisels, the students will start by making certain the back sides of each is dead flat and highly polished, as no proper cutting edge can be maintained if the back side of the chisel is not honed perfectly flat.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Investing in education, like investing in infrastructure, parks, or a number of other necessities, is just not in fashion.

Mario