I thought about this experience last night while browsing through a friend’s photo album on Facebook. He’s a bit of a political junkie, which explains why the album was from his trip to the Jimmy Carter Historic Site and Museum located in Plains, Georgia. Among other uber-nerdy shots, one was of a replica of Carter’s sixth grade classroom, circa 1937 under the direction of teacher, Ms. Julia Coleman.
Look past the inkwells, hardwood floors, and dusty chalkboards and you’ll notice something rather profound – the layout is not unlike many of today’s classrooms. Sure, 75 years have brought significant change in technology and ergonomics (I assume those wooden benches were less than comfy), but the essential geography of the classroom has stayed the same. How can we bring about fundamental change when the teacher remains at the head of the class, and students remain isolated in evenly spaced rows?
I know what you’re thinking – My classroom doesn’t look like that! - and you’re probably right. But understand that you are not the norm. To prove my point, I did a quick Google search for “2012 Classroom.” Below is the first classroom picture to come up. Notice any similarities to Carter's childhood stomping grounds?
Much like my brief time as a panelist at #140EDU, I am unable to offer an answer to the problem of our outdated model of education within this meager blog post. Instead, my goal was to use visuals to help better illustrate that despite fancy projectors, cell phones, social networking, etc., we are still doing education wrong.
How do we fix this?
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