“We need to keep teaching writing with pen and paper if for no other reason that the kids need to have the physical strength to handwrite the 90 minute Regents exam.” (Comment heard during a recent workshop.)
That might be the most depressing thing I’ve heard in a long time, but it epitomizes, I think, the depth of the resistance that many teachers are feeling about the shifts that are occuring. It’s a legitimate concern, I know, in an environment where passing the test is at the end of the day what it’s all about. (Even though you know that in a few years, the Regents and the SAT are going to have to start providing kids with digital ways to take tests.) Our resistance, our inability to see new ways of learning is going to get us into very desperate times.
I love this comment that Terry Elliot left a few days ago.
Our tools have pushed beyond the ability of the existing institutions to adopt them. School is a zero sum game as it is practiced today. There are efficiencies to be had, but none so revolutionary that current administrators will be able to â€œfold inâ€ Web 2.0. (I am sorry to use that term, but it is the only shorthand word I know to describe the networked zeitgeist.) Look at the fear most administrators feel toward weblogs. Weblogs demand freedom of a larger kind than schools know how to give. Many of us have simply routed around that fear and become a conduit by which students can exercise that freedom, but it is risky business professionally and personally. Yet we do it. Why? Because in our gut we know that this is where our students will live in their future. It is a sin to let them out into that world totally unprepared…I think that is the most frustrating part of being in the middle of a revolution. You have enough perspective to see that where you have been is not prologue to where you really need to be. It is there to be seen, but your brain cannot process it. If I may engage in some hyperbolic analogy, I feel like Moses must have felt: the Promised Land is out there, but we will never live to see it.
If true, that may be even more depressing.