All innovations and new ideas must be tested and questioned before they can be widely accepted but how often to we test and question traditional methods and structures?
I heard a lecture a while back where we were asked to imagine how books would be viewed if they had just been invented in a world where multimedia games and the web were the norm. Reading books would be seen as a solitary activity where teenagers hide themselves in their rooms with no social interaction, no multimedia stimulus and very little physical activity. These strange book-lovers would congregate in quiet and unstimulating buildings called libraries where they all sat silently reading without even talking to each other.
An amusing thought in the light of today's discussions about gaming and social media but it is useful to sometimes look at accepted practice in a new light.
Another case is a blog post by Katie Stansberry on MindShift, 10 reasons to ban pens and pencils in the classroom. It's well worth reading and she presents the same arguments as are often used aginst the use of mobiles in the classroom she shows how dangerous pens and pencils can be. The case against pencils is just as convincing as that against mobiles and it all depends on what you do with these devices. The same device/method/tool can be either a trivial distraction or an invaluable learning opportunity.
I agree that we need to examine and questions innovations but we should not becom complacent in our attitude towards accepted practices. Just because classrooms/lectures/examinations/books/age-based classes etc worked in the past does not mean that they will work today. Keep questioning and re-examining.
Photo: by Muffet