After writing my last post, I recalled an excerpt from a book that I had recently read. I dug through the book today and located the section that I had previously found so humorous. (I need all the humor I can get this week since I’m not in beautiful San Diego attending ISTE with friends and colleagues!) The following list can be found in Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology by Collins and Halverson (pg. 30). Their list highlights the many examples of how education has been very resistant to change.
- From a principal’s publication in 1815: “Students today depend on paper too much. They don’t know how to write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?”
- From the journal of the National Association of Teachers, 1907: “Students today depend too much upon ink. They don’t know how to use a pen knife to sharpen a pencil. Pen and ink will never replace the pencil.”
- From Rural American Teacher, 1928: “Students today depend upon store bought ink. They don’t know how to make their own. When they run out of ink they will be unable to write words or ciphers until their next trip to the settlement. This is a sad commentary on modern education.”
- From Federal Teachers, 1950: “Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away. The American values of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Businesses and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries.”
- From a science fair judge in Apple Classroom of Tomorrow chronicles, 1988: “Computers give students an unfair advantage. Therefore, students who used computers to analyze data or create displays will be eliminated from the science fair.”
I read this list and wonder how future educators will view our resistance to change. How will they view our adherence to seat time rather than competency based instruction? How will they view our rigid school schedule? How will they view our assessment system that uses letter grades? This list could go on and on, but it becomes evident quickly when reflecting on our system that we do many things that don’t make much sense other than to stay in line with the current system.