I found the negative reference to ‘connections’ in a post by Joe Nutt rather surprising. Surely it is by linking prior experience with new information that we learn. There is a debate to be had, possibly, about the role and nature of subject specialisms in school but to decry the importance of making associations between one body of knowledge and another is bizarre to say the least.

Socrates warned us that the move from oral to written culture presaged a society of decoders of information, whose false sense of knowing would distract them from a deeper understanding of their intellectual potential. He felt that the most dangerous moment in the acquisition of literacy was when readers become fluent and process the text for themselves: this makes the reader autonomous.

Perhaps this is the problem: that Joe fears the power that new technologies give to young people to construct their own learning and knowledge base with the concomitant result of changing the dynamics between teacher and taught.

Of course we need to be vigilant in observing the technological changes that will shape and rearrange brain structures – for it is clear that real learning alters the brain fundamentally. But we also need to embrace the opportunities that these technologies offer us. They may free the learner to have thoughts deeper than those that came before.

The analytical, inferential, perspective-taking, reading brain with all its capacity for human consciousness, and the nimble, multifunctional, multi-modal, information –integrative capacities of a digital mind-set do not need to inhabit exclusive realms. (Wolf http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780060186395/Proust_and_the_Squid/excerpt.aspx)

 

PS I find such shorthand as he despises (sage/ stage; digital natives) rather useful for grasping new concepts. I am, I hope, not so dull that I do not understand that these are simplistic and superficial phrases. This does not mean we need to exclude them completely! But I am a teacher who entered the profession well over 3 decades ago. And I began teaching not with the intention of becoming a ‘leader of the future’ and working in schools only for 2 years before moving on to higher things, but of making a difference to children’s lives.

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