How can people who are "digital immigrants" help "digital natives" learn? Technology offers the revolutionize the way we learn and help people learn. However we all need help to learn the new language. Project X is always on the lookout for new concepts and metaphors to help people understand and learn.
Marc Prensky wrote an article in 2001 called "Digital Natives Digital Immigrants" which is a very interesting look and how the world is changing. See
"Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. "
However many schools are answering the challenge and making education more relevant to the students. One of my favourite stories is about an English teacher who was having a hard time with a female student who was either not handing in assignments or writing very poorly. The teacher or the parent discovered that the girl was writing a book on a blog with help from fellow bloggers. The writing was of good quality. The parents, the student and the teacher met and asked the girl why her work was so poor in school. The girl replied that the assignments were boring and not interesting.
Some people will react to this story saying students need to learn more discipline and do as they are told. However maybe education is about learning new things, not just following the rules.
I think the modern teacher has a real challenge is engaging the modern student. We all recall the teachers that inspired us to learn more.
I recall a book written by two teachers from the US who went to teach in an out-port in Newfoundland. The book is entitled "Tomorrow is School and I am Sick to the Heart About It". It was a sad story about irrelevant school was to children in a fishing community in Newfoundland. The book is out of circulation now but it reminds of the problem in so many communities who are struggling for survival and we make them learn things that do not relate to their everyday life.
I am so impressed with a program in California that is attempting to become relevant to children whose give education a negative priority. It is called High Tech High and attempts to teach children though projects that a relevant to them. The success rate for this approach has been nothing short of amazing.
I think we need to open out minds to different ways to involve children in the education system which relates to their everyday life. Helping kids learn as opposed to teaching them skills and drills may be the secret. The skills and drills can be learned though the projects.
Another interesting approach being taken in one school in British Columbia is to assign a child in an early grade a subject of their choosing that they research each year all through school. Apparently people retain more studying a subject than learning skills and drills.
At Project X, we look for new ways to help people take advantage of the latest technology. We are always learning and reducing the gap between people. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
I invite comments and stories from people about their experiences with the education system yesterday and today.