David Warlick recently wrote about an upcoming Keynote (really a series of three) he is giving entitled Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century in his blog. This address will make a case for an expanded view of what it means to be literate in a time when information is networked, digital, and overwhelming.
"Being literate in this future will certainly involve the ability to read, write, and do basic math. However, the concept of literacy in the 21st century will be far richer and more comprehensive than the 3 Rs of the one room school house. "
He raises some very thought provoking questions.
- What do you need to know, when most of recorded knowledge is a mouse-click away?
- How do you distinguish between good knowledge and bad knowledge?
- What does it do to the value of information, when everyone is a producer?
- How do we address ethics, when we are empowering our students with such prevailing skills?
I tried to breech this topic with my graduate level preservice teachers. They just arent seeing it. They are so hung up on meeting the standards and giving kids the predetermined curriculum that they are blind to the fact that while having a minimum standards level of academic competency is important--it isnt all there is to becoming educated or to preparing kids to be successful in the 21st century.
I started my lesson on planning and preparing educational environments with Harry Chapin's "Flowers are Red." Afterward I ask them to react. They felt that there comes a time in a child's life when flowers should be red and leaves should be green. That creativity is for art. I asked them if they felt that the scientist, social reformers, physicians, and teachers of tomorrow wouldnt need creative, higher order thinking skills to solve the problems society will face? No matter how much we discussed it, they just couldnt connect.
I am going to start my lesson next Monday with David's question...What do you need to know, when most of recorded knowledge is a mouse-click away?
I was working with a friend today, John Norton, on Drupal. We were so pumped at what it could do and the possibilities for our virtual community work. He said something I thought was so profound. He sort of had this epiphany-- a real ah-ha moment (but adult style) -- he said.. wow-- you really have to think very deeply about what you want and what you want to be able to do when you are building something like this. I immediately thought there it is! There is the type of cognition we are trying to elicit from our students in the classroom when we facilitate their construction of knowledge.
Thanks David and John-- for my own Ah ha moment.