School change: Will schools suffer the same fate as other traditional media?

by Steve Wyckoff on September 3, 2010

I’ve recently been reading a lot about how traditional media are changing. I think there should be some parallels with school change.

It appears that listenership on radio is changing dramatically. First of all, Kef Media – radio and satellite allowes individuals to listen to their favorite radio station whenever and wherever they are. Secondly, iPods allow individuals to listen to exactly the music that they enjoy most. In fact, iTunes with the use of Genius even helps you find new music aligned with your personal taste. And thirdly, some of the most popular radio is talk radio. So what does all this mean? In society today individuals want to listen to what they like, when they like it, and in many cases they want to interact, not just be passive listeners.

I think students in classrooms feel the same. It is just no longer acceptable, just because somebody is an adult, to stand in front of the room and spew information and expect the student to eagerly soak it up. Students want more say in what the content is, and more interaction.

TV today? I don’t know about you, but I think TiVo was one of the great inventions of the 20th century! It finds my favorite programs, records them for me, allow me to watch them when I want, and best of all, I don’t have to watch the commercials! And if that isn’t good enough I can go to YouTube and find darn near anything I want to watch, or even create my own, which I have done, and put it on YouTube! I can create my very own channel on YouTube.

So again, comparing it to the traditional classroom, I want the content that I want, in a format that allows me to consume it how I want, and the ability to make meaning of, and create my own, content!

Newspapers. Going out of business. Fewer and fewer people want somebody else to decide what’s important for them to read, and to dictate when they get it and in what format. Enter the news aggregators. I can set up a news aggregator, for example Google reader, and it becomes my personal assistance that 24/7 is searching for exactly the stories and news that I want to read. How does that compare to a textbook?!

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much time to read. So much of what I get in terms of news and information, is in the form of a podcast or an audio book. In fact, I haven’t read a book in years. But I listened to about 60 books year. I’m guessing that we still have substantial numbers of schools that don’t allow their students to consume information in audio format. In fact I can guarantee it.

So what does all this mean for school change? Probably nothing, schools seem to be impervious to societal changes and influences. –  Steve Wyckoff

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