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students and social networks

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Joel Dodd was a teacher of mathematics, and is now a researcher, and statistician.

I recently revisited a post by Joel where he discusses traditional classroom culture and the influence it has not only on today's students, but also on their parents and the community outside of the school. It still seems really relevant so I thought I would share it again.

Joel writes:

"A change is going to come...

What this project involves is a three-way culture change. How people think about education, learning and support. From a teaching perspective, I am looking to move away from the traditional style of education, and taking on the IT tools that are not made available for teachers to use, but that the learners have themselves elected to use...."

"The students have already had nine years of entrenchment in traditional school environments....The students perceptions of how they learn have been shaped by their prior experience, and they come to class with a preformed set of expectations that does not closely match the new style of education. The tech devices and resources that are a central part of their lives outside of school are now becoming prime resources to help them to learn....The mental separation between school and personal lives is being blurred and broken....And, the students are being expected to become pro-active in their learning, and to take personal responsibility for preparing for school."

"The families of the students are having change imposed upon them. Many have not typically been involved with the school environment for many years, and their expectations of school and education are shaped by their own experiences and memories of learning in a different era, currently an era before the internet. Now, they have school entering their homes via the internet and social networking sites. Some families place restrictions upon their children's access and use of computers and the internet, so the new model is a direct challenge to their domestic authority. As schoolwork increasingly requires students to use the internet at home, parental control will be confronted, and potentially eroded. It is a challenge, then, for parents and caregivers to understand how their children are being taught, how they are learning, and how to review their control over the IT resources at home. Is it a case of a challenge to personal control, a fear of what the children could be exposed to via the internet, or a combination of both that leads parents to restrict or prohibit the use of the internet at home?"

Joel concludes by suggesting that the adoption of this model of learning will only be successful if there is a (supported) culture shift in school, home and the wider community so that there is "a dynamic balance between the needs and expectations of each party, and how far they are willing to modify their own perceptions and willingness to change". The resulting synergy, Joel suggests, is where the best learning will happen." 

What are your thoughts and experiences?

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