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Information: Ed Reform Catalyst

Kids

flickr photo by mattdesign

Today I read an interesting blog post by Maggie Hos-McGrane, entitled What You Know -v- What You Can Do.  Maggie’s post was inspired by the following tweet:

Content driven #education doesn’t work. Nobody cares about what you know. They care about what you can do with it.

Proponents of standardized testing aside, there is a lot of truth in this statement.  In her post, Maggie summarizes a professional development discussion related to transforming information into knowledge–a critical skill for our students.  After all, there is no shortage of information.  In fact, I would argue that it is the volume of information (and it’s rate of change) that will ultimately force a revolution in the way we “do” education.

Imagine the audacity of thinking that we can impart knowledge on our students that will really make a difference in 10 years.  Just consider how much has changed in our world in the past two weeks–let alone the last two years.  It has become cliché, but creating life-long learners must be the primary objective of our school systems.  Our students need a new skill set in order to succeed–knowing things isn’t enough, they must be adept at reviewing information and generating their own knowledge.

In the article, The World Needs More Social Entrepreneurs, author Bill Drayton advocates for the mastery of complex skills such as empathy, teamwork, leadership and change making.  Regardless of the skill set specifics, it is difficult to argue against shifting our educational focus away from the attainment of a specific set of knowledge and toward the development of aptitudes that will lead to life-long learning.  Anything less and we are short-changing our students.

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About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Information: Ed Reform Catalyst

  1. Great post Jeff.

    I constantly wonder how we make the leap from simple information gathering -> information processing -> Drayton’s “citizen” skills. I think our students realize this more than educators often do, as they are able to access knowledge faster than it can be recalled from memory.

    I think it starts with inquiry – instead of thinking about what you have to know, it must be about what you want to know. The force to process information, which is meaningful to you, becomes much greater.

    Posted by Pete Rodrigues | February 22, 2011, 1:14 pm
  2. Thanks very much for mentioning my post Jeff. Working in Switzerland (and not speaking German) I have so little contact with “local” teachers that I rely on my blog to reach out to educators around the world who can push my thinking forward. I think Pete (comment above) is right: we need to start with inquiry – students need to find the answers to THEIR questions – the ones that are important to them. To many teachers still confuse fact finding, research and true inquiry. As teachers we often just need to model how to do this and create the right environment for our students to do it. For me that’s the real purpose of education.

    Posted by Maggie | February 22, 2011, 7:41 pm

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