Thomas Friedman continues to make the case for change in education today in the soon to be closed New York Times opinion pages. It’s about efforts in Singapore to bring high level math instruction to students. And the good news (I think) is it’s all about the changes we’ve been talking about in this community for quite some time now: creation and sharing of content, collaboration, a shifting notion of what it means to teach. A couple of points of emphasis, first from a principal:
“We have shifted the emphasis from content alone to making use of the content” on the principle that “knowledge can be created in the classroom and doesn’t just have to come from the teacher.”
And this, from the developer of an online math curriculum:
“What we have tried to do is create a platform for the continuous sharing of the best practices for teaching math concepts. So a teacher might say: ‘I have a problem teaching congruence to 14-year-olds. What is the method they use in India or Shanghai?’
HeyMath’s mission is to be the math Google – to establish a Web-based platform that enables every student and teacher to learn from the “best teacher in the world” for every math concept and to also be able to benchmark themselves against their peers globally.
The Web gives us access to much more in the way of individualized and quality resources than we’ve been able to access in the past, and it now allows us to create and to use classroom created content to teach wider audiences and serve real purposes. And it’s facilitating a much more collaborative approach to learning and creating. Obviously, these shifts are occurring in business, politics etc. as well. But the bad news is we’re just not getting that message here, it seems…