In the third chapter of the book “Now You See It”, Cathy N. Davidson suggests an innovative education system, providing an emphasis in today’s digital era, and claiming that the existing education system needs to be renewed according to the new expectations of the digital era.
Davidson states that in the last half century, many changes have occurred in the technology field; however, classrooms and educational methods have remained fairly steady for the past years and in consequence students are not being prepared for the future advances of society. That being said, it is vital to improve and to give a change to the current educational methods, adjusting them to the existing demands of the era that we are living and taking advantage of the resources that it provides.
First of all, Davidson suggests that education needs to implement crowdsourcing as a learning method; diversity is a very particular characteristic of our society and teachers should take advantage of those different ways of thinking to allow students join forces to find solutions on different problems, share knowledge and explore new ways to research things; parting from the premise that it doesn’t matter how brilliant a person could be, collective group is always smarter than one person separately.
Davidson also suggests that the traditional testing standard and state-controlled educational parameters should be avoided and instead classrooms should be adapted to each student’s individual talents; the skills of every student differ from one to the other, strengths and weaknesses are not the same for everyone; every student is different. As a result, Davidson states that there is no way to measure knowledge in a standardized manner and this practice needs to change in order to decrease the amount of students labeled as failures, just because their strengths and abilities are outside of what tests usually measure.
Davidson emphasizes that teachers need to make use of the current innovations to attract student’s attention in class. In relation to this, teachers should incorporate student-driven lessons, group work and strategy games to their lessons in order to conduct classes in a more interesting, funny and interactive way, to work towards reaching a goal. Davidson also recommends that teachers should create intellectual challenges and competitions as a method of learning, to develop student brains.
Additionally, teachers need to learn to unlearn; to unlearn the rigid and obsolete education method and work towards a new learning revolution adjusted to the digital era, to achieve a better learning method and provide eager students the tools to survive in today’s and future eras.
To finalize this analysis, I want to point out the organization that Davidson employed to develop her argument. It’s fascinating the way in which the writer begins the chapter by describing the success of the “iPod experiment” at Duke College to prove her thesis. Then, she presents the different current scenarios of educational systems contrasted to the past educational systems to demonstrate the slow improvement on education in the last years, and provides comparison with other countries and their statistical evidences that validates how we are failing in education. The writer also show examples of what is expected in classrooms in the digital era, what activities schools need to do in order to improve and change the present educational system according to the needs of era we are living, and a description of a successful environment in school. To end the chapter, Davidson displays the “project classroom makeover”, setting up a classroom according to today’s expectations and incorporating technology practice as fundamental to improve paper-based requirements in school.
If you had the opportunity to work on the Project Classroom Makeover, what would you suggest to improve education?
Do you agree that standardized testing for all students should be avoided? Why?