My drive time audio the latter half of this week was Steve Hargadon‘s (@stevehargadon ) interview with Kiernan Egan on The Future of Education. As always you can listen to them from the FoE site, or download them in iTunes. Kieran’s voice is a delight to the ear, and his wit a delight to the soul. A few things struck me in this conversation, which led me to purchase the book, aptly titled “The Future of Education: Reimagining Our Schools from the Ground Up”. Since I did not have pen in hand, nor would I have taken notes while driving, I am left with my faulty memory to represent the things that remained with me into the day. And maybe that’s a good judge of a podcast or book or article…. what do you still remember hours or days later? Here’s one thing I appreciated, especially in light of some recent discussion on Twitter that revolves around the fact that we are in a time where an individual teaches his father, and learns from his children. How true that is when we deal with technology!
“Education is a conversation between generations.”
He also explores the concept of students as experts- going in depth rather than meaningless breadth. I had a discussion with a veteran teacher about this idea, and she is adamantly opposed to elementary students becoming specialists in any way and believes that specialization at such young ages is counterproductive.. She believes the K-5 years should be a time to create generalists. I’m pondering.
My take-away? I can allow students to pick a topic, and work on becoming an expert in it. Challenge them to know the most of anyone in the school. Use that topic to talk about research skills, info literacy, etc. It seems very useful in my situation, where I only see students twice a week. However, this really isn’t about depth as much as focus on one topic so that there can be breadth in computer applications.
What do you make of the dilemma concerning specialization and generalization in 21st century education?