Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WisCon Panel: The Future of School

This was the first panel I attended. I chose it not only because my son will be starting school next year, but also to get ideas on how to approach education in science fiction. These comments are my interpretation of what was said at the panel; hopefully I didn't omit anything important.

Different cultures view teachers differently (some revere teacher)

85% of students like individualized learning from a computer; 15% prefer traditional method

Students may be afraid of making mistakes in front of teacher

Learning through play (video games, roleplaying)

Playing lays foundation for abstract thinking later

Roleplaying reduces fear of failure

Some kids may disrupt entire classroom (critical mass of a-holes)

Need to start early (preschool)

Kids need to learn proper behavior

Technological changes aren’t enough; we need to change the school culture

Need to learn how to learn

Kids need to learn that subjects aren’t just about memorizing, but learning concepts

Need to present a variety of things to make kids figure out abstract connections

Need to make concepts live for the students

What are the barriers to making change?

No Child Left Behind: a great idea, but impossible to hold every child to the same standard

How can you make a computer work for every child when they learn in different ways? (Some are visual learners, others are audio, and some are even tactile)

School districts can be inflexible; expect all children to do exactly the same thing at the same age (they’re willing to hold kids back, but not willing to let kids advance)

Where are students headed after K-12?

How do we measure ourselves when standardized tests aren’t the way to go?

“We’re not against innovation, but why can’t you innovate the same way as everyone else?” (This was spoken by a school district to a teacher and was my favorite line at the convention)

Lecture material may be online; students may be expected to review the lectures on their own and come to class to solve problems in groups

What about making wikis a Facebook app?

Ebmoto—Facebook for schools (this may not be the right name)

Do we need a transition course from high school into college?

Children need to learn how to seek out what they need to learn; they need to be whole-learner people

What should our education system be preparing students to do after they’re done with school?

Should all students be trained to go to college, or should we be training them to be plumbers too?

Students who don’t want to go to college feel like second-class citizens

We need to give students options

Students go to college to get a job, not to learn how to think and develop social skills and communicate an international world

Kids need strength of self to figure out what they want to do and just do it

Given the increase in knowledge and the changes in the job market, we can’t train students for a particular job when it might no longer exist when they grow up

The terminal math/science class—all high school students need math/science literacy so they can evaluate what they learn on the news

1 comment:

anthony stemke said...

This was a very interesting essay. My spouse, the educationtipster, has been a teacher, tutor and home school consultant, so we know the value of education.
Thanks for this post.

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