I’d like to begin this post by stating my agreement with Melanie McBride’s and Brian Lamb’s posts on improving education. The following post is a response based on my minimal understanding of their ideas, and a base knowledge that only goes as far as having watched a couple spongbob/dora soulja boy mashups on youtube. so I apologize if I misconstrue or have misunderstood her ideas in anyway. Regarding Brian Lamb’s material,  have no personal experience with mashups/remixes myself. So forgive me if I end up coming across as either ignorant or insulting. I don’t think that either authors of these posts would completely do away with existing forms of education, only add to and enhance them, and this is the understanding from which I’ll begin this post.

It’s true. As an institution, schools are limited in terms of what they can teach us, the tools we learning tools we have access to, and what is considered an acceptable form of expression. As a result, students are faced with restrictions. While I think that in a perfect world, devoid of these limitations and with unlimited agency, you’d find a diverse array of amazingly unique and value-added ideas, expression, and creativity, I do think that there are important reasons for learning in an institutional, traditional way. The world is full of institutions, rules, and restrictions and by learning under similar conditions, students are taught to maneuver through “the real world” more easily once out of school.

However, I heartily agree with Melanie McBride on her ideas on self-directed exploration, outside of the classroom. Traditional learning can and should be supplemented by a free-er, less restrictive type of learning and an out-of-classroom experience is arguably the best (and possibly, the only) venue for this form of “exploration”. Furthermore, I agree with Brian Lamb’s argument that educators must evaluate the tools provided to students as part of this process. I think there is little controversy in saying that presently, the average student’s educational experience is severely lacking in these respects. Finally, I believe the in-class learning could certainly benefit from a greater support of free expression. If one of the greatest criticisms of our schools is that they fail to teach our students to think critically, analytically, and creatively, restrictions on self-expression should be carefully evaluated. (For example, I’ll admit that I’ve even censored myself in the writing of this blogpost). This is where I think both authors’ strongest points come into play. It’s clear that rapid and constant changes in technology (see DuncanDonuts’ firebug story for proof of this) mean that the world around us is changing ever second of every minute of the day at breakneck pace. Educators should consider the best way to keep up.

Advertisements