I was busy doing my usual email catch up when I came across a thread in which someone was asking how to stop young people from accessing the apps page in Google Chrome because it was distracting and they didn’t want them to be able to have access to the games etc that were there. It seems that this is always the reaction of most people when especially online there are things which are a “distraction”. It is about control and also not being able to allow young people to experiment and find things out. I know as a teacher the job description says that we should teach, impart knowledge and understanding and “make” sure young people learn. But also as teachers we know that we are unable to do this effectively if the only knowledge learned is exactly what we say and exactly the way we do things. Young people learn from exploring and experimenting and hopefully learning from their mistakes and being made aware of other people and the mistakes they have made but they also learn from the great discoveries that have been made that they make and the ways they arrive at these stops on the journey for knowledge and understanding. Saying we have to ban young people from something that they may find more interesting than the knowledge we are imparting is not a bad thing it should be a wake up call for us to reflect on our practice and think about the way we are delivering the curriculum. One of the thread posts did refer to being able to include the apps into the teaching so that instead of actively discouraging access we should actively encourage access now that gets my vote. One of the contributors referred to an article, Discovery Learning for the 21st Century: What is it and how does it compare to traditional learning in effectiveness in the 21st Century? by Joyce Castranova which is worth a read.
We seem to have forgotten about Piaget, Papert and Vygotsky and we tend to sweep aside the fact that we learn collaboratively as well as individually. Maybe in the future we can retake the idea of creativity in the classroom and allow our young people to explore and discover learning in the 21st Century where they have access to amazing tools to help them learn and thrive in a world of learning and experimentation and the fact that they arrive at the answers in a different way to what maybe deemed the norm is not critical. What is critical is that they arrive at the answers and learn to be critical thinkers to enable them to solve problems with teachers there as guides and facilitators to help the young people on their journey of discovery.