Thursday, 23 July 2009

Repositioning the value of individual knowledge

A company called 'Common Sense Media' publishes a lot of stuff which I think is rooted in old school values that need to update and move on with the times.

They are of course not alone in continuing to value autonomous learning over collaboration; assessment of each individual's grasp of facts & knowledge; a desire to separate learners in an attempt to ensure that they can be evaluated more easily. This is what schools and schooling have been based upon over centuries.

But nowadays I think we need to value collaboration and participation far more; we need to think about how we teach students to read critically and to share knowledge; to show where they got ideas from so that others can look too. We need to be teaching them to understand that many people working together can achieve so much more than individuals working competitively. We need to show learners that it can be good to produce texts in collaboration and to amend them time and time again to add detail, to refine, to bring up to date (etc)

Thus in this article about hi tech cheating, the emphasis in my view needs to be on making sure kids acknowledge their sources. Showing them that it is of value to research and find information, will mean there is no need to deceive others. In this age of always on acess to info, there is no need to set such a high premium on reproducing facts. By continuing to insist that this is what is important, we are teaching kids skills that belong to past centuries.

Just in case you think I am totally utterly barking mad .. I do agree we need to know lots of things without the need to look up stuff online all the time - but I am arguing about a principle here. This is the principle that we need to relax a bit on knowledge stuff and concentrate far more on helping kids to use sources carefully and in a critical way.

End of rant.

Btw - does this sign mean 'No Arm Swinging'? Or is this an example of alternative readings? (Answers on a postcard please.)

no arm swingers

2 comments:

Tony McNeill said...

Hmmm ... no Egyptian Sand Dancing?

And I hate to say this but (coughs politely) ... how do we as pro-digital HE educators "value collaboration and participation"?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4YeNK6K918

DrJoolz said...

yes is v difficult to challenge these things ... especially as what people need in terms of currency are the qualifications rooted in old systems.

It is one thing to collaborate whilst involved in learning and teaching - but as soon as assessment is involved, it all gets complicated.

How do we deal with it?