Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flexibility in education... as in traditional media

The Medium - Content and Its Discontents - "People who work in traditional media and entertainment ought either to concentrate on the antiquarian quality of their work, cultivating the exclusive audience of TV viewers or magazine readers that might pay for craftsmanship. Or they should imagine that they are 19 again: spending a day on Twitter or following a recipe from a Mark Bittman video played on a refrigerator that automatically senses what ingredients are missing and texts an order to the grocery store (it will soon exist!). Then they should think about what content suits these new modes of distribution and could evolve in tandem with them. For old-media types, mental flexibility could be the No. 1 happiness secret we have been missing."
Substitute 'media' for 'education'... and this article is a thought-provoking one when it comes to thinking about educational change. At a conference a few weeks ago I heard someone arguing that we shouldn't be lead by students' preferences... if traditional lectures were good enough for us, they should be good enough for them. There was a definite sense of 'we know bestness' about it and, y'know what... it didn't rest particularly easy with me. A tendency to deride or refuse to accommodate other perspectives and views isn't the behaviour of the educated... is it? Shouldn't we allow ourselves to open up to new challenge and new ways of doing things? If the goal is that education helps us become creative, critical, curious, independent, knowledgeable, capable individuals... why is it that the means of getting there should be fixed? There is still value in chalk and talk in certain circumstances - but surely it's the evaluation of those circumstances and contexts which makes for good delivery choices. One size fits all vs. a range of sizes which fit most?

Anyway, an interesting article about an area which is seeing massive change at the mo. Worth a wander.

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