Building A Better Mousetrap

What would happen if we started a conversation about educating 21st Century kids in 21st Centruy ways by wiping the slate clean and redesigning what we do and how we do it?  What would happen if we tossed the textbooks, and handed every student a small, mobile portal to the web and the world, and they used it like we use a pencil and paper?  To start, we wouldn’t talk about technology, we’d talk about education and what it is kids should be doing and what they should know.  In the old days, the traditional approach could be summed up with the words watching, listening, and remembering.  In the 21st Century, though, we need to use descriptors like collaborating, evaluating, synthesizing – these are the skills that students need to have!

Two seminal articles to frame the conversation – the first is by Herb Childress, an ethnogropher who observed high school students in the late 90’s – 17 Reasons Why Football is Better Than High School.  The second is a piece by Alfie Kohn, writer and former teacher, “Well, Duh!” — Ten Obvious Truths That We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring.


What would happen if we started anew, and challenged our traditions about classrooms and pedagogy?  I’m only partly sure about the outcome, but I’m really sure it would be fun!