This interesting article in the Globe and Mail wonders why we are still teaching in schools.
But the researcher quoted, Mohamed Ally, director of the Centre for Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University, is mainly enamored with technology. He is still caught in a paradigm of delivering knowledge/education in the same ways, just using newer technologies than blackboards and textbooks. He is still in thrall to tests. He still thinks schools perform important "social interaction" functions.
Here are two statements that jumped out at me.
Students continue to work together for much-needed social interaction,
but advance according to outcome-based models rather than the age-based
cohorts of Grades 1, 2, 3, etc.
In the classroom, their desks are arranged in clusters to foster
peer-to-peer and group problem-solving through a variety of tools like
Smart Boards and LCD screens.
Neither of these requires the fancy technology. The latter is common practice in British school rooms and works really well with paper based instructional materials. In fact, one of the things Mat was amazed by (having been educated his whole life in Britain) was that kids were in rows in school here.
And we could organize schools so that students did advance on outcome based models, even differentially by subject and still work in groups (age based, or in multi-age groups). That is an organizational issue, NOT a technology issue.
Ally does have one thing right, though.
The biggest wall we have to knock down is the attitude of the teachers and some of the faculty
Not to mention administrators and publishing companies and a whole lot of other folks that have a stake in the system as it is. (I think maybe he needs a few sociologists on his team.)
Edited to add (because I only read this after I’d posted: RedNeck Mother has a summary of a talk Gatto gave at a conference in Texas yesterday that hits some of the key reasons why technology is not the answer.