Friday, September 07, 2012

Educational Readings :Phonics, Fast Food, Matt Prensky

Another week - where does time go? The usual smorgasbord of articles this week, with a couple looking at ICT (e-learning) and education. While I’m a great believer in the power of technology to really enhance/extend/enrich the learning process, it also seems to me that we are in danger of putting the cart before the horse, encouraged by those who see extra money. We know that the corporates and their deforming puppets in politics are promoting online teaching and assessment as the future. The agenda for this Education Innovative Summit 2013 tells us all we need to know. Doesn’t the summit have a great title? Sorry - look at the presenters, and spot the reputable educational researchers and experts. 

Contrary to this technological and profit driven approach, I believe that the richest and best learning originates from actual hands-on experience. This really came home to me the other day when I was watching an episode of the English archeology programme ‘Time Team’ which was based in the grounds of an English school. The children were fully engaged pushing the ground radar transmitter and having the results explained to them, cleaning pottery finds and other artifacts, examining remains of stone walls and so on, under the guidance of the archeologists.

Real life learning.
Naturally, their classroom time revolved around their experiences and learnings, illustrated through paintings, written work, research and so on. It struck me that there is no way that any technological experience, today and in the future, could ever replace the actual hands-on involvement in this, augmented by a range of sensory experiences.  Sure, technology has a very powerful role in enhancing this in ways not previously possible, but it can not replace it.

The moral of this is that we need to be mindful not to be seduced by the ‘silicon snake oil’ ( a title of a book on this topic published a decade or so ago), or by those with a vested interest in peddling technology, and to keep real learning opportunities and experiences at the front of our pedagogy.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Our schools are being undermined by a constant rhetoric of decline.

Sound familiar? Which country do you think this article came from? Isn’t it ‘amazing’ how GERM politicians say the same things, regardless of country?

Teachers reject 'pointless' new phonics check

Something to look forward to, as the GERM infection spreads… Does ‘success’ in this count as ‘reading?’

Fast Food Education Reviewing the Facts about Education Reform

Written about ‘education deform’ in the USA, but very relevant in all GERM infected countries. This is the future unless……..

Read This and Share My Nausea

Here’s something that hadn’t occurred to me - the advantages, to ‘deformers’ of having a young inexperienced teacher cohort. Diane Ravitch explains.

Policy muddle stifles innovation

A blog article from Australia which will ring bells for educators in other infected countries.

The Tech-Driven Classroom Is Here, But Grades Are Mixed

Seems results are not matching the predicted outcomes.

Open University research explodes myth of 'digital native'

Mark Prensky developed the digital native concept some years back, although he has moved a bit since then. This article goes further, to look at whether this framing has substance.

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