September 16, 2005

Still Eating Our Lunch

Thomas Friedman’s latest op-ed article brings home a couple of key issues for education.Still Eating Our Lunch – New York Times

First, the shift from content to creation:

Numerical skills are very important,” she told me, but “I am now also encouraging my students to be creative – and empowering my teachers. … We have been loosening up and allowing people to grow their own ideas.”

She added, “We have shifted the emphasis from content alone to making use of the content” on the principle that “knowledge can be created in the classroom and doesn’t just have to come from the teacher.

The fact that this country has been at the top of math achievement hasn’t stopped them from looking to improve.

Second point is that static textbooks cannot even come close to demonstrated complex mathematic or scientific concepts:

Our lessons contain animated visuals that remove the abstraction underlying the concept, provide interactivity for students to understand concepts in a ‘hands on’ manner and make connections to real-life contexts so that learning becomes relevant.

Connections? Real-life contexts? Wouldn’t it be neat of our education systems moved in this direction? While some individuals are, we all know “the system” isn’t quite there yet.