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Posts Tagged ‘dewey

I paraphrase a saying: You cannot drive forward while constantly looking in the rearview mirror. Actually you can, but you will probably cause an accident.

The point of that saying is that if we want to progress, we should not obsess on the past. However, that does not mean we should not look back in order to move forward, particularly if there were people ahead of their time.

Two such people — prophets shouting in the desert if you will — were John Dewey and Seymour Papert. They were famous for distilling many wisdoms, and here are just two of them.

From Papert: Technology alone will not change classroom teaching.

From Dewey: Question those who tout being “future ready”.

If we are to look back, it should be to reflect on timely reminders such as Papert’s and Dewey’s.

We do not learn from experiences. We learn from reflecting on experiences. -- John Dewey.

The wisest writers devote themselves to what a man ought to know without asking what a child is capable of learning.

I should make a clarification about this quotation. 

It is not an endorsement of designing learning experiences without taking into consideration the learner. Quite the opposite.

The larger context, as written by John Dewey, is highlighted by Will Richardson. I provide the short version: We think we know what is best for kids; we do not especially if we forget what it is like to learn.

This is the CC-licensed photo with which I created the image quote.

I opted to use Haiku Deck to create with this quotable quote on my iPad. Haiku Deck was an iPad-only app when it was first released but there is a web version now.

The app uses CC-licensed images which are just a search away. However, it does not yet embed the CC information.

I used Google reverse image search to find the source. In Chrome, this was as simple as right-clicking the image I created and selecting “Search Google for this image”.

Dewey’s quote resonated with me early. When I was a student teacher, I carried a hardcover notebook to jot down fleeting thoughts or juicy quotes from my instructors. I still have that notebook in a shelf.

When I was Ph.D. student looking to carve a niche for myself, I chose reflective blogging by preservice teachers. This was shaped by my predisposition to reflect, my habit of blogging, and my passion for teacher education.

I am no longer a classroom teacher nor am I a university-based teacher educator. But I keep this daily habit of reflective blogging up. Why? I think, therefore I blog. I reflect, therefore I learn.

I am going to try something a bit different every Sunday.

I have a collection of favourite quotes and I intend to share versions of them I create with Canva, Google Slides, or Haiku Deck.

I will share the finished product as well as the original image source that was shared under a Creative Commons license.

The image above was something I created for my flipped learning series of videos.

I found original image with ImageCodr.

The quote is widely attributed to John Dewey: If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children tomorrow.

For me it serves as a source of inspiration when the going gets tough, a reminder of why I choose to be a change agent, and a warning to those who stand in the way.

Yesterday Seth Godin lamented how we have digital analogues of things like parking meters. (We do not have those devices here because we have both an electronic cash card system and primitive tear-away parking coupons.)

Godin’s point was how current tools, methods, or systems can often limit future tools, methods, or systems. A digital parking system should not just replace the old version by replicating its functions but actually improve them or change them.

If an old parking system required you to guess how much time you were going to park or allowed you to cheat, then the new one should remove the guesswork by determining exactly how long you parked.

You should not not marry old strategies with new technologies.

But we do that all the time, and education is no exception. We might have experienced how lectures happen with a chalkboard, overhead projector and transparencies, PowerPoint, SlidesShare and virtual world. The tool and medium change but the method does not.

Keeping our antiquated parking coupon system in the presence of an electronic one might waste resources, but it just creates an inconvenience now. If we change the medium of instruction but not the method, we do this to the detriment of our learners now and in future.

The Web is full of, um, interesting things to do. I recently came across a tool that defined you under the Dewey decimal classification system.

Apparently I am under the category of “Manuscripts” and this is the report of me:

Ashley Tan’s Dewey Decimal Section:
091 Manuscripts

000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You’re working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at



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