Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The power of networks

The network will be working tomorrow. In a post entitled "Help make the network real" which I think will be about demonstrating the power of the network, Will Richardson tells about a gathering of independent school heads and teachers near Philadelphia, called “21st Century Education: 20/20 Vision for Schools”. It will be a global event and include live skype video calls and a wiki that you can add to.
"Just leave your name, your place in the world, your blog if you have one, and one link or resource or piece of advice that you feel will help these folks get their brains around some of the challenges and questions and opportunities we face right now."

And then in a networking effect from this post I found a blogger that I did not know about who I was glad to read. From this blogger, Woody , and his blog, Edumorphing, about Education Reform in Practice I found this interesting post, where he critiques the "worksheet" culture in schools. He says:

The use of worksheets...
  • Uses an unspeakable amount of paper. Most of the paper goes unused and is discarded in the trash or recycled.
  • Creates teachers that begin to rely on a 1-dimensional teaching method. Introduce... teach... have them fill in the blanks.
  • Creates dependent learners. Students depend on the teacher to direct their learning. Discovery and reflection are put on the back-burner.
  • Creates a sense of monotony and boredom amongst most students. Pass out the paper, put your name and date on it, read the directions, answer the questions, fill in the blanks, pass your papers in.
  • Dilutes creativity. Students begin to lose the creative aspect of learning. They start to feel comfortable filling in the blanks. It's easy!
  • Creates a stack of graded worksheets that is taken home and thrown away. Why should the students care about the worksheet? They didn't create it. They don't own it. They have no stake in it except for the grade.
  • Creates teachers that don't want to grade the worksheets and end up throwing some of them away, meaning that students did the work for absolutely no reason.
  • Creates teachers that share worksheets and just use ones others have created. This results in teachers using worksheets that don't truly match what they are currently teaching or can even be at odds with the learning.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

And finally, go Aussies! Graham Wegner has a guest spot on one of my favourite webcasts from the Edtech Talk stable, Teachers Teaching Teachers. If you're in Eastern Australia, tune in live on Thursday 17th January 2008 at 1 pm DST. (which is 9 pm eastern USA the day before).
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1 comment:

  1. Jo,
    Thanks for the post. Worksheet Elimination is working great in my Science class. Just added a new post @ www.edumorphing.blogspot.com