Do not teach the way you were taught
Posted May 7, 2015on:
“This just in. A school teaches 9 to 12-year-olds how to use YouTube!”
That is what my son declared today to me after remembering what he experienced in school last week. He went on to complete his faux news report and ended with “Now over to Jim for sports!”
Based on my son’s account, let me tell you what the school did, why I think they did it, and what this has to do with changing the way teachers teach.
The school gathered the Primary 3 to 6 classes and provided a briefing on how to use YouTube. The kids were told to enter “www” into a Web browser.
What is wrong with that? Nothing, if you were teaching a retiree or a grandparent with a desktop computer in 1995.
There is no need to type “www” most of the time now. It is quite redundant. (My son asked me what “www” was and I had to explain.)
In fact, there is no need to type. Most kids and even adults are used to tapping on the YouTube app on a mobile device.
The assumption was that kids use a Web browser to watch YouTube. Some might and people in general still do. But even more use mobile apps because they are easier, friendlier, and literally within reach.
The Web is mobile. If you have been hiding under an Internet rock, taste this sample:
- comScore reported how mobile-only Internet users exceed desktop-only in the USA
- Google is has adjusted search algorithms that favour mobile sites
- Online shopping on mobiles is set to overtake PCs
There are more examples of how the Web is mobile if you bother to search.
The Web is mobile and this requires teachers to rethink the instructions they provide. They must also relearn the way to teach.
The biggest assumption teachers make is that kids need to be taught the way teachers learnt (in this case, how to use YouTube). This is turn is due to the tendency for teachers to teach the way they are taught. This puts the teachers’ needs and past experiences before the students’ needs and experiences today.
That is my first sermon. The second is on why and how the kids were suddenly briefed on using YouTube.
Was this a “cyberwellness” mass briefing? You could certainly check that off on someone’s list. But I doubt that because such lessons are largely relegated to e-teaching by Garfield (that fat cartoon cat) on the schools LMS.
Was there coincidentally a video that the school produced, uploaded to YouTube, and needed view counts to rocket? About as much a coincidence as some parents receiving messages with the video URL and the mass briefing including instructions on how use exact search terms to find the video.
I am speculating, of course.
It could just have been an old-fashioned and unnecessary briefing for kids who already know how to use YouTube.
There could have been a few kids who really did not have access to computers or mobile devices, and to treat everyone the same, it was only fair to get everyone to attend the briefing to rehash what most already knew.
Including the kids who had no way of watching the video was logical too. Because, you know, just in case they needed to do this in future. After all, telling everyone what to do means they learn it and ensures they do it, right?
Sermon number 2: Not only was a mass, one-size-fits-all briefing unhelpful for a skill, its agenda was clear even to the kids. Teachers can pretend to operate inside such bubbles. The problem is that such bubbles are transparent and they pop.