Modern learning practices/pedagogies & traditional practices

This blog post for me probably raises more questions than answers and is very much me reflecting on conversations I’ve had over the past week or two.

There’s a lot of talk (and action) at the moment about 21st century learning, modern learning environments and practices, future focused education, modern pedagogies or whatever you want to call it! It’s invading education. In a good way I think. I’m excited to be working in education while this shift is underway. I believe it’s positive. Not easy, but definitely positive. Recently when I’ve talked with some teachers—both primary and secondary—about their schools plans to move into BYOD or 1:1/1:2 (or whatever!) environments a couple of things have come up (my words, not theirs!):

  1. Why do I/we need to change when I know what I’ve been doing works and my students are succeeding academically?.
  2. How can I continue to teach in my traditional ways but using digital tools?

I think the first question is very valid. Many teachers have been teaching successfully for many years. Their students are achieving highly and are engaged. Yet, for some reason there are people saying that they need to change and adapt to use new technologies. Why? I don’t doubt that these teachers are getting good results, but my question is, why wouldn’t you do more to engage these students where they are at? If we’re aiming for personalising learning, then wouldn’t using the tools/technologies that our students are using regularly, every day surely be advantageous?

The second question in my mind says that we acknowedge that digital devices/technologies are being used these days and it makes sense that I would use them in my class (or we have to) but we’re comfortable where we’re at. The danger with this is that a laptop/tablet is going to be a word processor. A place to write notes, essays, stories etc—used as an expensive ring binder to keep all our notes together. It’s not 21st century learning. It’s not personalised, it’s not future focused. So while I think it’s important that we move into modern ways of teaching and learning I wonder…

What—if any—place do traditional pedagogies and practices have in the 21st century learning environment?

If you have any thoughts/comments around this, I would appreciate you sharing them in the comments area below.