For my computers and technology in the classroom course we were asked to watch a TED talk and reflect on what we learned from it. I decided to reflect on the video, “The Surprising Truth About Learning in Schools“. Will Richardson, the speaker of this talk, first reviewed many of the best conditions for powerful learning. The conditions he discussed included relevance to the learners lives, fun, passion, limited time constraints, personal investment, and real world application.
After reviewing these commonly accepted best conditions for learning, he went on to say that there is a disconnect between what we believe about learning and the actual practice of it. He then stated that the surprising and challenging truth about schools is that they were not “made” for learning. He went on to argue this by explaining how schools do not meet many, if any, of the best conditions for powerful and productive learning. He stated that the reality is that learning in school is typically unproductive – students often do not want to learn the material, will not absorb it long term, and have no interest in learning more about the topics being discussed.
I definitely agree with a lot of what Will Richardson stated in his TED Talk. I certainly do not remember the basic facts, figures, dates, and information I was told to memorize back in high school. I was never particularly interested in the content at the time, though I still made good grades because I made the effort to. Just because I made an effort, does not mean I was sincerely interested in the material I was learning. This is a very key issue as well – that even students who are performing well in school, are not necessarily learning in a productive way.
This TED Talk discusses an unfortunate truth about schools and learning in America today. We are very fortunate that some schools are moving towards a more tech-friendly, student focused, and interactive class setting and curriculum. Hopefully with time, more schools will adopt these models and perhaps that will begin moving education in the right direction!