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Reductionist 21C classroom

Posted on: June 8, 2018

This EdSurge article says that The Key to 21st Century Classrooms Isn’t Tech. It’s Evolved Teaching.

No, not quite.

“Evolved teaching” is important, but that could apply to any other issue, e.g., inclusiveness, individualisation, socioemotional learning, etc. Nonetheless, I agree that “evolved teaching” is necessary for meaningful, seamless, and powerful integration of technology.

However, there is no simple, reductionist answer to something as complex as designing and implementing a “21st century classroom”.

Just what is a 21C classroom?

Certainly not just the timeframe. There are classrooms that are years ahead and still far too many that are decades and even centuries behind. All these are in developed and developing countries.

Why is the phrase delimited by a “class” and a “room”?

Yes, lessons take place in a classroom, but learning extends outside of it. Follow learners over a period of time and you will realise just how much and how often learning — technology-enabled or not — happens outside the four walls.

The title reduces the issues to a single key and lock. There are many keys for many locks. The locks will keep changing shape and so must the keys we forge.

I also take issue with reducing the importance of technology and how it evolves. If there is no new and rapid development of technology, there is also no pressure to change.

What readers and writers of such articles need to focus on is evolved mindsets. Mindsets shape attitudes, attitudes shape behaviours. Behaviours like teaching, for instance.

Complex problems cannot be reduced to simple lock-and-key statements. They sound good as rhetoric, but they cannot and should not be given as advice or implemented as policy.

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