Sunday, March 21, 2010

Of Blogs and Bytes

The New York Public Library has started a blog: Stuff for the Teen Age.  It evolved from their Books for the Teenage list.  Last year's 100 best titles are listed here.

Today I downloaded Kindle for Mac and am trying out my first digital book: The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein.  A colleague at work is reading it and wanted someone to debate with.  I'm not very far into the book but already I question whether using test scores is a valid way to determine one's ability to function well in today's world.

The author's criticism of our generation of wired kids surprises me.  In my experience, not that many teachers have integrated the Internet into their way of teaching to be making any significant difference to the way kids are being taught.  Those that have, the trailblazers, are doing an outstanding job of challenging students and giving them valuable skills.  So can we really begin attaching blame to the use of the Internet?

My other question is how do we decide what knowledge a student needs to function well.  In a world where information is free and readily accessible aren't skills more important?  Sure everyone needs some basic knowledge, a starting point, but how do we quantify that?  It brings to mind the Chinese proverb about giving a hungry man a fish.

Lots of questions, few answers.  I think our discussion will be an interesting one.  Care to chime in?

Image used under a CC licence from David Reece

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