What “Age” do we teach in?
I ask this because from time to time we have teachers come to us saying that some of our printable resources and fun sheets materials don’t exactly match up to our game worksheets. We have comprehension fill in the gap activities that fully match, but with each lesson topic, we also provide a fun puzzle for students to solve using the information we provide as a basis and to get them to think creatively for the answers. These fun style worksheets are where students complete a puzzle by finding facts out about a given topic in music.
Our answer to this is- we know! Because we feel that we are in the information “problem solving” age where the materials are only the beginning to understanding the information presented.
So Let me clarify this a little bit more….
Teaching in the Industrial Age
I grew up in an age where we had comprehension sheets- the Industrial Age. Do you remember them too? This was where you had a story about a topic on one side of the sheet and you had a pile of questions or things to find about the story on the other side. Basically you didn’t ever have to think for yourself when you were answering these questions, you just had to look for the answer which was somewhere in the story.
Now there was absolutely nothing wrong with this style of worksheet (apart from the fact that we dreaded these every week because they were so boring!) because it suited this era perfectly! The choices for the students at this time suited this style of learning because all you had to do to get any job back then was to re regurgitate the information that was given to you for an entrance exam and nothing extra was really asked of you.
The Information Age
It all changed when we all started using the web! No longer was it good enough to just read what we were presented with. Suddenly we were searching for an answer to one question and we were presented with thousands and sometimes millions of answers to choose from.
The classroom has also changed… back then in pre 2000 – we still had chalk boards, whiteboards, overhead projectors. All information presented came directly from the teacher- the teacher knew the answers and the students just had to learn it.
Nowadays our classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards, computers and iPads.
The number one wish list item for any teenager is an iPad and our students come to school with mobile phones and iPhones which connect them to their wider world.
The Challenge of Teaching In The information Age
Information has never been easier to get for our students to get – it’s the guidance with which it is used which becomes the challenge in teaching.
Anyone can get access to anything- it’s natural to go straight to a computer, an iPad a mobile phone and search for anything we don’t know. The question is do we keep this in mind as we teach our new generations?
The challenge for our next generations is that they can get access to anything, but they need to find out how to use it responsibly and with integrity. Often this is not yet taught in the home so it makes sense that we embrace it in any classroom with a supportive environment.
There is a big movement towards finding a way to get the best out of our children using questions instead of telling them- getting them to actively participate in learning instead of passively listening. All of these movements encourage our future generations to become problem solvers, leaders and builders. People who can be well educated to make the right decision at the right time and people who will see what the truth really is with all the information presented.
But now I really want to hear from you on this topic. In order for us to better serve our teaching community, we need to know how you feel!! What “age” would you rather be teaching in? How do you incorporate information age style thinking into your classroom? Does it matter that not all the information is presented in comprehension style format these days- that sometimes our students need to search for the answers?
Please lets start a discussion and find the best way forward together.