Time is up for “old school.” (Richardson, 2012) Today’s learners demand a new kind of education. Teachers, as designers of classroom learning, need to be able to provide learning environments that allow students to thrive.Â According to Will Richardson in his new book,Â ‘Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere’ (2012),Â education has gone “basically unrevised for 150 years.” Â In a majority of Canadian schools the physical building, the timetable, report cards and the playground look very familiar. In some schools, the way learning happens, though, and the environments in which it happens have changed. Most importantly, learning can happen “around the things we learners choose to learn, not what someone else tells us to learn.” (Richardson, 2012)
“Literacy has always meant being able toÂ consume and produce the media forms of the day, whatever they may be”.Â (Ohler, 2011)Â Have you thought about books, papers, pencils as forms of media?Â Based on Richardson’s timespan of 150 years, school has focussed on reading print material, writing paragraphs and essays and lots of time listening to a person talk. Literacy has meant reading, writing, and speaking with viewing being added as a form of literacy relatively recently. In 2012, literacy can mean mixing words with images, sounds, music, video, and other media to create, as Jason Ohler (2011) describes, a multimedia collage, in the form of web pages, digital stories, videos and so much more.
Time is up for schools to insist that literacy revolve around limited forms of media for consumption and production. Schools can move from being text-centred to supporting a collage of media literacy in creative, thoughtful, ways.Â Students and adults can create media, stories and projects that are articulate and authentic. Teachers and students are surrounded by a multitude of Web 2.0 tools to explore, master and share. It can be difficult to choose which tool to use. Some people may feel that technology makes tasks more difficult rather than easier. If that is the case, either the wrong tool is being used or the task needs to be changed.
On the journey of creating excellent learning environments we do not have to be experts at everything, however, teachers need to be willing to take risks and be lifelong learners.Â One question that may help teachers and students select high quality tools is, ‘Does this tool allow me to expand my classroom beyond physical space or the constraints of time?’ Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools can meet these demands.
By collaborating and sharing work and talents within our school communities and our online communities we can create dynamic places for children and adults to learn. School can continue to exist even when “Learning and Information are Everywhere” (Richardson, 2012)
Ohler, J. (2011). New media, new kids-new literacies, new citizens. Retrieved November 21, 2011, from jasonOhler.com:Â http://www.jasonohler.com/
Richardson, W. (2012). Why school?: How education must change when learning and information are everywhere. New York: TED Books.