Mrs. Vance Goes To School

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What do they need to know?

Posted by MrsVance on October 9, 2007

OK. This blogging thing is certainly not as easy as it looks. I left NECC 2007 in Atlanta this summer with the zeal of a new convert. I was going to do this.

And I did.

Sort of.

Except that the first day of school hit. And shortly thereafter my network crashed. And I still don’t have the new MS Office installed on all of the computers in the school. And we are supposed to be using it for our report cards in a few weeks. So… enough moaning. I have gotten some help and can begin to see daylight again.

But even though the idea of blog writing was completely beyond my capabilities, I have been blog reading and thinking extensively. This past weekend I was able to watch Will Richardson’s Keynote Presentation at UPEI’s New Media Institute via a link on EdTechTalk. (And that in itself was extremely cool!) However, one thing that concerns me is the idea that there is an either/or decision to be made between the old way of doing things and the Web 2.0 way of doing things. In this new reality is there a value to memorizing anything at all, from spelling words to state capitals?

The biggest hurdle to fully exploiting this hyper-connected digital world, is being able to trust/verify the information one finds. CoolCatTeacher covered this extensively back in September. It seems to me that a prerequisite for being able to validate the information one finds on the internet is a deep and broad pool of background knowledge. Our students should be able to compare the information they find to the information they already know. They should start by looking for inconsistencies – the things that just don’t seem to fit into their preconceived notions of what is true and correct. Ideally, as they move through our schools they will narrow the gap between the ideas in their heads and ‘truth’. I know that is just a starting place. But if there is no knowledge that you truly own, then where do you start?

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