Open Thinkering


Are we doing young people a disservice?

Are we abdicating our responsibility when ‘student voice’ dictates what we do rather than how we do it?

Isn’t it unreasonable to expect the majority of those who are not yet adults to make significant contributions to the world’s knowledge?

Where’s the evidence for ‘digital natives’ or ‘digital literacy’?

Why does the educational year work as it does, largely in a one-size-fits-all approach?

Will students have to write with a pen for two hours ever again after high-stakes examinations?

Do pupils in ‘Outstanding’ schools who quote the latest educational buzzwords actually know what they mean?

With the narrowing of curricula, will your secondary education one day determine your future career?

Is further and higher education really just about contributing to the economy?

When did the unreflective use of social media and new technologies become equated with educational innovation?

Why do educators still make assertions based on outdated research as though it was a recent breakthrough?

Image CC BY Giuseppe Bognanni

6 thoughts on “Are we doing young people a disservice?

  1. Excellent questions Doug. I think an additional question should be: Why do so many teachers blindly allow themselves to follow the crowd without considering how will this help me improve the learning in my classroom?

    Moodle, Google Docs, Twitter, Wallwisher, CiL, Lino It, Blogging, Wikis – these are all fantastic tools and having considered what each may add to my student’s learning I have made use of them but I gave serious consideration to who, what, where, when and why before doing so and have continued to evaluate their usefulness throughout.

    There are many features offered by Moodle that I excitedly tried when I first began using it but I no longer use as either there is a better Web2.0 alternative or the more traditional pen and paper method is actually more effective. For example, forums are an excellent tool for generating discussion beyond the classroom and an ideal repository for peer assessment but I would not use it in the classroom as it could never replace the value of face to face interaction.

    Wow, I’m off again. Can never seem to be concise! To make a more succinct and salient point – the minute a teacher stops asking questions (of both themselves and others) is the minute effective learning ends.

    Like the Boo by the way – am using it myself to increase my blog productivity. I’ve considered recording some of my previous posts but I’m not sure. I will be interested in what sort of reaction you get to yours.

    Have a great day, James.

    1. Thanks James. I used to record some of my posts as podcasts back in the day at but it became a little too time-intensive. I like the fact that Audioboo is so quick and intuitive!

      Regarding ‘flocking’ I’m reading an interesting book at the moment called ‘Different’ by Youngme Moon, loaned to mr through the ETRU book club. It’s ostensibly a business book, but the author is also a teacher so makes some salient points… 🙂

      1. Thanks for the recommend – will look see if their is an epub or pdf edition available.

        I have decided to record my last post on “shipping” and “giving gifts” as a test to see what response I get. Am now deciding whether to record and post directly on my blog as a “new post” or weather to simply tweet it out and “edit the original post” to show that their is a recording available?

        Any thoughts?

  2. Yes, we are abdicating responsibility, as adults, towards students. The whole point is that education is about forming the individual. This is a crucial differentiator between an educational institution, and a service industry, for which following consumer tastes and preferences is appropriate.

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