Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Big Questions

When I ask the young IT guys where I work how to do something, they answer patiently and politely but I can tell they are thinking, "Why don't you google it?". That is the world they have grown up with. It would have been hard to imagine this 15 years ago. Students now need to be able to sift through the information mountain, process it and use it to answer meaningful questions. I always try to make this job easier for students and teachers with my website, but ultimately, students need to be able to do it themselves. Think of my links then as scaffolding in this process.

I feel that asking the big questions can really enliven your lessons and motivate students. Take our recent Australia day Celebrations as an example. Is it Survival Day or Australia Day? Is it a commemoration or celebration? Was it Settlement or Invasion? At first you get their parent's answers, but after digging deeper, even young students can form their own answers.

When you want a cake recipe you google it. Soon, and I mean soon, all students will have a netbook or notebook on their desk and they will be able to immediately find information. 3 years ago I was advising teachers against using Wikipedia. Not now. The skill set we give students is different. Will you be ready for it soon?

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