The Evolution of Education

Education in American public schools has undergone remarkable change in the past two decades.  Advances in technology have played a major role in this evolution.  For example, graphing calculators have modified how mathematics is taught.  The focus is not on memorizing multi-step calculations but on using a calculator to solve complex problems.  Computers have created instant access to information.  Thus libraries and textbooks are no longer the absolute source of knowledge.

 

In a networking society, the focus is sharing.  Public schools must now teach students to be team members, maximizing the contributions of each individual.  One student helping another may have been “cheating” in an earlier age, whereas the same action is now “teamwork.”

 

Because the advance of technology has transformed entertainment, students and their parents are no longer content with an educational system of “sit and get.”  Today’s teachers must be more creative, providing students with opportunities to satisfy curiosity, pursue issues of interest, and seek meaningful solutions.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “The Evolution of Education

    • Thanks for pointing me to the well-written, thought-provoking blog by David Wagner. Today’s educators are beginning to focus on brain research. Most see the need to teach students to “analyze in a critical way,” but they are “failing to … redesign the education system” as asserted by Dr. Jeniece Lusk. Many teachers limit writing assignments because of labor intensive grading. Perhaps peer grading (editing), as suggested by Wagner, would alleviate the grading burden.

      • Diane Kirson-Glitman

        Avoid peer grading please. Students do not like it and cannot be counted on to give useful feedback. The students who want to truly get better do not “trust” peers opinions especially when in general classes and the students can be of varying competencies.

  1. Fully agreed with you Dr. Marilyn and I believe that the training and professional development directorate would play a vital role in changing the teachers roles to be a facilitators for the knowledge by acquiring a variety of skills of “How and Where to navigate for the knowledge” more than just knowing”What- content-based” .

    • Thanks for your comment, Dr. Zaid. Professional development is vital to transforming teacher roles. However, in Texas, the lack of funding for education does limit the quality and quantity of teacher training.

  2. David Coles

    Interesting concepts but it seems incomplete. It raises more questions than answers any – ‘How can we teachers in the trenches use social technology to ‘educate’ (for lack of a better term) our students?’, ‘How can we use collaborative techniques to foster individual learning? – Especially since students will not be taking mandated state tests as a group’, and for me, as an online teacher, ‘How can I develop and set up social media to best serve my students yet still be able to hold them individually accountable?’

    • David, you identified one of the major blocks in the way of evolving our schools. There is little or no leadership from the universities and educators that helps direct the energy it takes to make schools serve the needs of 21st Century learners. We are in the Information Age. We are in the Interactive Age. Our schools and not. Our teachers are not. More and more students are. Why not? I have been working on this problem for years. I prepared a communication to educators – a book – that will be out this month. If you follow me on edwardfberger.com you already know my persuasion. I’ll announce the book in about a week. I would appreciate your comments and insight.
      Edward F. Berger, Ed.D.

      • Dr. Berger, lack of leadership is not the only block to transporting schools into the 21st Century. Lack of state funding is major. Change resistance is another block. Many citizens, and some teachers, do not see a compelling need for transformation.

        Please do send a download of your Vital Lies: The Irrelevance of Our Schools in the Information Age. A thought provocative book may be a good option for August staff development.

    • David, these are timely questions. Teachers cannot fully change the way they teach until education paradigms have shifted. (See the RSA Animate of Sir Ken Robinson’s Changing Education Paradigms). However, teachers can begin to modify the classroom focus (in spite of excessive emphasis upon state assessments). David Wagner suggested the inclusion of peer grading and criticism to facilitate critical thinking. He advocates “more writing assignments requiring the collection of information.” Wagner’s two recommendations do offer a starting point for educators.

  3. Alicia Lewis

    Technology should be our number one priority in education. It should be used correctly to prepare our students for our 21st century worldwide market and enable them to be responsible global citizens that are well equipped with the necessary tools to compete with other young people around the world. Technology not only motivates but should inspire all those involved in education by enabling them to literally connect to the world and learn languages and cultures as never before. It has opened our classrooms in the United States to other classrooms in all areas of the world through the use of Skype, wikis and other electronic means available and even those not expanded or invented as yet. Technology, if managed correctly in our classrooms, makes worldwide classroom communication and engagement possible. Teachers from different continents can have common planning; create projects for their students that invite critical and higher level thinking skills. This sharing of classrooms and ideas furthers camaraderie and friendship among teachers, students, administrations and communities around the globe in a way that we could not conceivable before.
    We just have to look around us and see that increasing technology does help our students in their vocational training and higher education. Life no longer exits as it used to be 15-20 years ago. Technology rules our entire system and in most ways, it has added to the intellectual growth of our human society. We just have to “Google it” or take a look at our forum to appreciate its praises.
    Yes, we do have issues of overdependence that needs to be seriously addressed but, the expansion of technology and the good it brings to humanity, far out ways any kinks we might need to work out to attain anything close to perfection.

    Most “traditional” college professors may be way behind the times in terms of adding technology to their curriculum but to survive and help our students meet the standards of our global society, they MUST change. Why should we? We MUST change if we are to prepare our students and maintain a strong standing in the world. If we continue with our “traditional” way of teaching and do not expose our children to the global changes we are now experiencing through the use of technology, we are setting up our children to fail in our global market and that would be a shame!
    Technology and its growth and expansion in education are a must!

    • Alicia, your comments remind me that we have barely “scratched the surface” regarding technological advances. Adding “to the intellectual growth of our human society” is both inspiring and challenging.

      • Alicia

        Dear Dr. Marilyn,
        I am a strong advocate of global education and the search for ways to prepare our children to be successful as global citizens in our world market. Technology, when correctly applied, is the way to go.
        Thank you for offering me the opportunity to express myself in this forum.
        Alicia

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