Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Education Revolution

Kevin Rudd, Federal Opposition Minister, has announced an Education Revolution: The Age reported yesterday that "Kevin Rudd is set to promise an "education revolution" under Labor, making it his top priority in government to overhaul the entire national education system from early childhood to mature age learning."

Don't know if he had this headline in mind but it sure would be good if he did: Futurist: To fix education, think Web 2.0
"A consultant and former chief scientist at Palo Alto Research Center, John Seely Brown argued that education is going through a large-scale transformation toward a more participatory form of learning."

"Rather than treat pedagogy as the transfer of knowledge from teachers who are experts to students who are receptacles, educators should consider more hands-on and informal types of learning. These methods are closer to an apprenticeship, a farther-reaching, more multilayered approach than traditional formal education, he said."

"With every new piece of technology, to make this technology work, you have to change your teaching practices," Seely Brown said. "Part of it is (thinking about) how to go from sage on the stage to being a real mentor."

He suggested a "hybrid" learning approach. Schools can teach essential knowledge and critical thinking through somewhat traditional means. But they should complement that teaching with what Seely Brown called "passion-based learning" that focuses on getting students more engaged with topic experts.

This would really be a revolution. Bring it on.


  1. Can you tell me what 'somewhat traditional means' is advisable for teaching critical thinking? I would have thought that critical thinking would be most effectively learned from a passion base.

    I won't even touch 'essential knowledge' and what I think about traditional means for that.

  2. Yes, I know that the bits i've quoted from the Seely Brown article look strange out of context. I think he was referring to the criticisms he gets and trying to show that you don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater when reforming education. I can only say that his point of view is better expressed in the whole article I was quoting from.

  3. The quotes from John Seely Brown are particularly relevant to my position as I try to encourage teachers to start taking risks embracing ICT and learning with, and how their students learn. So many of my secondary teachers still like to teach out of a "text book" and then wonder why kids are disengaged !!

  4. Anonymous12:02 pm

    This load of clotted jargon sounds like a coven of maiden aunts trying to make sure that the children never stand on their own two feet. But are eternally dependent on the 'wisdom' of the authorities.