On Leadership: Should Technology Reinvent the Classroom?

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Newt Fowler_19
Newt Fowler

Courtesy Citybizlist – There’s growing interest in education technology companies in the region. These companies are taking on an industry that hasn’t changed in decades: students of varying aptitudes, learning styles and interests show up in the same classroom to be instructed on the same stuff at the same time. Periodically they are tested and success measured the same way. Kids are rewarded by avoiding mistakes. Surely technology can make these processes more efficient, but the question begged is whether technology can help reinvent our classrooms.
Our kids are taught in a classroom environment that hasn’t changed much over the decades. Sure technology has made it into the classroom, but usually as a media enhancement to teaching students the same way – a lecture based model – where information is imparted with the same cadence to all. Classroom equality means students are taught lined up in a classroom, during the same class period, at the same pace and knowledge attained is measured the same way. Yet we all know that when we learn isn’t bounded by the class bell; we learn throughout the myriad of experiences of the day; insight or understanding comes to each of us at our own pace and in different ways; and what we do with that knowledge is myriad. Yet as Andrew Coy, CEO of the Digital Harbor Foundation, recently commented in this column, we manage to allow our classrooms to be designed as if we all learn the same way, gain insight at the same pace and will head out for careers that presumably reward mastery and avoidance of mistakes over curiosity, creativity and measured risk taking.

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