The Human Aspect

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”  -Winston Churchill

Many challenges and changes have taken up position and now require the apt attention of educators and our current educational system. Whether it be high-stakes assessments, federal and state accountability structures, or implementation of the common core standards, each one knocking on the door and vying for highest level of attention.  And unfortunately, often distorting the focus of our profession…

In our current search to create a perfectly aligned test, to implement the most rigorous standards, and to exact the cleanest spreadsheets of student data, we can find ourselves losing sight of the other side…the human side of education.  This is not to say that I am against assessment, rigorous standards and working diligently to provide our children the highest levels of learning.  Rather, we can do ourselves and our future generation a real disservice when we lose sight of the human aspect of education.

And yet, that is what I felt reading Will Richardson’s (@willrich45) post, Another Stunningly Bad Vision for Learning.  Will Richardson’s post was in concern to another blog post that discussed how technology could be utilized to “shift to a new form of classrooms” where “students will have their own cubicles as we do now, and they will run apps and watch videos…”  

How incredibly disconcerting to read this as viable approach to instruction and utilization of technology for our students.  We have spent the better part of the 21st century breaking down the walls of isolation in our classrooms and schools to improve professional practice.  We have learned that a collaborative and collective efficacy will not only improve our profession and classroom instruction, but the learning opportunities of each and every student.

So it remains bothersome to fathom how we can enhance student learning and increase their ability to serve as effective and self-sufficient citizens by placing them “in a cubicle with some videos and apps.”  Students, and humans for that matter, are social in nature.  It is in social environments that students learn to interact, share, and learn from each other.  Skills that are necessary for students to be effective in today’s workforce.  Both technology and the environment need to be presented in an effort towards increasing engagement and the collaborative process.  Not to place it in a “cubicle.”  Even two of the Four C’s of 21st Century Learning are “Collaboration” and “Communication.”  

We must remember that technology is a tool that we utilize to enhance and improve learning and the learning experience for students.  It is definitely not the method.  And especially not, if the method is to isolate students in their learning and their environment.  It is in the collaborative environment and moments that students engage and acquire those human attributes that will support their success beyond the school setting.  So, let us not ever lose the human aspect of learning.



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