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Academic Technology Services blog

Holding on

I saw this article this morning and thought it was interesting. What are things we’re doing because we’re used to them and not necessarily the best way of doing them? How can we move past nostalgia and into the present or even the future?

I’m not saying that all skills and methods used “long ago” are irrelevant, but we should certainly look at why we do the things we do and try to improve them. It’s like the story of the cook who always cut the ends off a roast before cooking it. When asked why they did that, the person replied, “That’s the way I learned it.” The cook’s teacher was asked and then their teacher was asked, until finally the originator of the practice was asked. The originator said, “I cut the ends off the roast so it would fit in the roasting pan.”

We have a romantic attachment to skills from the past which are no longer relevant on a curriculum for today’s children

Would a person with good handwriting, spelling and grammar and instant recall of multiplication tables be considered a better candidate for a job than, say, one who knows how to configure a peer-to-peer network of devices, set up an organisation-wide Google calendar and find out where the most reliable sources of venture capital are, I wonder? The former set of skills are taught in schools, the latter are not.

Methods from centuries ago may seem romantic, but they do get obsolete and need to be replaced. The brain remembers good things from the past and creates a pleasant memory of the “good old days”. It forgets the rest. It is dangerous to build a present using vague memories of the good old days.

Any standard room in a Holiday Inn is better than the best facilities in an emperor’s room in the 15th century. Air conditioning, hot and cold running water, toilets that flush, TV and the internet. The middle class lives better today than any emperor ever did. Going back to horse-drawn vehicles is not the solution to our traffic problems and pollution. Beating children into submission will not solve the problem of educational disengagement.

via Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education | Education News.

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