Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bridging the Expanding Educational Gap

In the Stephen Downes's newsletter I received today, Downes points to an article written yesterday by Graham Attwell that discusses the growing gap between the educational requirements for 21st Century students and what educational institutions offer today.
In this article Attwell argues that the whole focus of schooling & higher education needs to change dramatically if this gap is not to widen further, let alone be closed in the near future.

Attwell's suggestions revolve around providing opportunities for students to be involved and embedded in authentic learning experiences, and that assessment be formative, integrated and authentic leading to the development of eportfolios that the students own and take with them throughout their lives.

I strongly urge you to follow the link above and read what Attwell suggests.

1 comment:

Ray Tolley said...

Yes, I too followed Stephen Downes' link to the article by Graham Attwell - but, sadly, was not as inspired as one might expect.

Attwell argues that the present education system is failing our youngsters and argues, for instance, that if the PLE is incompatible with the system then change the system to fit in with the PLE.

He then goes on to suggest a host of 'bolt-on' solutions which schools should adopt - as if these were some form of panacea.

Admittedly he does refer to changing the system by (a) redfining the role of the teacher, (b)revising an understanding of assessment, (c) redfining the role of the learning environment and (d) estabilishing a new perspective on accreditation. He calls these "radical changes" and blames "systems which are failing so many individuals and failing society as a whole."

Perhaps Graham is not aware of the exciting work that some schools, researchers and developers ARE doing in all of these fields. In terms of staff or whole-school development therefore, I believe that his approach is fundamentally 'cart before the horse'.

As a staff trainer I would want to deal with the whole learning environment first and then offer the tools one by one - as teachers and pupils realise that they need them - rather than foisting a tool on an unprepared class.