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Flattened Education

Will Richardson recently posted about connections between Thomas Friedman's new book, The World is Flat, and the opportunities that new technologies provide for the classroom. His post connected three different issues I have discussed with my students throughout the year:

  1. We read Thomas Friedman's New York Times article which summarized the book's argument as an introduction to our unit on India and China.
  2. I have tried to continually stressed that as technology makes traditional knowledge progressively easier to access, it will be more and more important to "know how to learn" and "know how to find information" as opposed to just "knowing information".
  3. My belief that a good teacher makes himself "increasingly unnecessary."
Will's adopted a quote from Friedman that perfectly sums up the latter two points:
This is what happens when you move from a vertical (command and control) classroom to a much more horizontal (connect and collaborate) flat classroom. Your student can do his job and your job.
I think one of the biggest challenges I have faced this year is convincing my students, most of whom have been very successful in a traditional "vertical" classroom, that this change can benefit them. I am hopeful that blogging - both through allowing me to be more transparent in my teaching and through giving my students added control and ownership over their class - can move us in this direction.

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