Day 87 (of 184) inspired by @adamfgoldberg
Adam Goldberg created perhaps the most underrated tv show of this season: The Goldbergs. A reflection of life in the 80s – and for me blending great reflections (of making radio & tv shows & playing with transformers) hmmm moments (how similar school in 80s seems to be to some parts today).
For instance – one of my ‘highlight memories’ in elementary school is a restaurant menu – I think it was the Compu-Hut, come in for a “byte”. I was able to make it on the Apple II that my father had in the basement – the one he was using to help him (as a principal) coordinate a linear/semester/copernican hybrid for his high school. What I liked about this piece of learning had little to do with the ‘curriculum’ but for me it was more about:
-enabling me to be creative
-when I made a mistake I just had to ‘delete’ rather than ‘restart
-being able to use an adaption so my work could be as neat as others
But sadly for me, not all learners can use or are allowed to use technology as an adaption
For instance – one of my favourite ‘distraction/disruption’ was similar to Adam and his videocamera, though I started by using an old tape recorder to create radio shows (often parodies or blatant rip-offs of Star Wars) and finally graduating to the Fisher Price PXL-2000 a video camera that could record on …. audio tapes. It was awesome and allowed me to experiment with ways to communicate what I know. Although I did find it challenging to edit on – something that remained the domain of the VCR/VCR combo setup.
But sadly for me, a lot of students enter my classroom reluctant to take risks and try new things without ‘getting approval’ first.
I still worry that many of the classrooms today look eerily similar to the classrooms of the 1980s. Not that anything was wrong with them ‘back in the day’. Few opportunities to access computers to support learning occurred beyond the computer labs (that were not in every school) and the key commodity of ‘information’ was kept in textbooks, reference books, and libraries – all of which were limited in scope and hours available. Now we have tools that fit in our pockets that can access any tidbit of key information (who, what, where) and allowing for greater information acquisition (the why, and what happened next) – meaning that school today needs to be about more than just acquiring information. It needs to be more about showing what you know and a greater focus on creating content, not just consuming it.
For instance – using that piece of technology that can fit in your pocket that can create audio, video, multi-media, etc presentations and allow a greater focus on the synthesis, than ‘just the facts’.
But sadly for me, activities: that enable collaboration can be identified as group work that allows for cheating; geniushour and Self Organized Learning Communities can be seen as ‘not-teaching’ because students are in charge of their learning. Tools such as iPads for calculating, writing (voice-to-text/typing) reading (comics/books/mp3 etc) are seen as ‘cheats’ – even though I am more interested in the synthesis (thinking about their thinking) and the compositions (creating text/visuals/pictures/etc) over the pure consuming of information.
Right now The Goldbergs brings our family together once a week where we get to laugh at what life ‘used to be like’, give funny looks to my son (who is the same age as the character “Adam’) and since 3 of the characters are still in school (much as my own 3 kids are) I get to reflect back on my own memories, combine them with Adam Goldbergs memories and then go back to my school and take a critical look at what is happening and what should be happening so that we can inspire the next generation of @adamfgoldbergs to creatively produce content to show what they know.