T-Learning is an elearning services company based in the Liverpool, UK supporting teaching and learning to schools across the world. Taecanet delivers personalised learning for teachers and students accessible at school or at home. More info can be found at www.taecanet.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Are schools set up to cater for 21st century students?

Does teaching in schools today prepare our 21st century students with the necessary tools to succeed in the real world? This is a very hard question to answer and obviously we will probably never hear a resounding 'Yes', due to the homogeneous make up of the student and teacher population. However, we must be in a good position to judge whether we are delivering materials in a relevant way, and testing these students in the correct way to get the most out of them.

My personal opinion is that we are not. I think students now, need to be challenged more now than ever to create their own paths to a learning objective, with as much choice and differentiation as we can offer them. There are a number of factors holding students back such as: content, assessment methods and pedagogy. I will explain what I mean.

I feel the baseline of what is taught in schools must change in order to be relevant to learners in 2006 and beyond. The 'one size fits all' testing procedures must also be altered to squeeze the maximum amount of potential from each student. Rather then 'getting a level 4' after a stressful 2 hour exam, students should be assessed upon what they have collated and learned throughout the year using a number of assessment models. And finally, I think there are stark questions that need to be answered in terms of whether the way teachers deliver the curriculum is successful in the outcomes needed today. To quote Andrew Watt "How do we change the teacher from 'sage on the stage' to the 'guide on the side'? Why are we wasting time presenting information when kids can take their time - and go faster - finding the same information on the web?."

The rest of this article can be found at http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2006/10/andrew_watt_on_.html and I think it exposes some fundamental questions regarding whether education today is relevant to students and the world they live in. My angle is that in elearning, teachers have many tools with which to reach every student in the class. This will hopefully allow more students to reach their potential by learning in a way that suits them, and at a pace that suits them. We must adapt testing procedures to replicate this type of 'personalised learning' being pushed by the Government in 2006.


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