Soon after beginning my courses at UOIT over three years ago, I began to realize that everything I was learning was leading towards one inevitable conclusion. A revolution is coming to teaching and learning. We are on the cusp of great and sweeping changes to our education system driven on two fronts – one being the advancement of our theoretical understanding of how people learn, and the second being the huge technological advancements we have seen over the past century. I have created this website to serve as a testament to my learning and perhaps more importantly, to convince those that read it that the time is right to reexamine our methods of teaching and learning and update our education system to reflect the skills and characteristics we require of today’s' students in the 21st Century. It is time for a change. It is time for a revolution.
"To start, we must overhaul and redesign the current school system. Mass education belongs in the era of massive armies, massive industrial complexes, and massive attempts at social control. We have lost much talent since the 19th century by enforcing stifling education routines in the name of efficiency. Current high school dropout rates clearly indicate that our standardized testing regime and outdated curriculums are wasting the potential of our youth. If we stop thinking of schools as buildings and start thinking of learning as occurring in many different places, we will free ourselves from the conventional education model that still dominates our thinking."
~ Peter W. Cookson, What Would Socrates Say? (2009)
During my first course, Principles of Learning, I was reintroduced to the history of learning theory. I say reintroduced because the theories of Vygotsky, Skinner, Piaget, and others were briefly discussed during my Teacher Education Program, but I knew very little about teaching at that time so I had difficulty connecting the theories with the realities of student learning. Working in the classroom for several years before beginning the Masters of Education program provided me with context for understanding and I found that I could more fully grasp the concepts of the great thinkers and more readily apply it to my own practice of teaching. It was during research for this course that I discovered the Rip Van Winkle analogy for education that profoundly changed my view of our education system. In the children's fable, Rip Van Winkle falls asleep for one hundred years and wakes up to find that the world around him had changed beyond recognition and all those he cared about were gone. As it relates to our education system, if someone were to go to sleep one hundred years ago and wake up today, one of the few recognizable features of our modern society would be our classrooms - chalkboard on the wall, student desks in neat rows, and the teacher at the front lecturing the class. Despite all our gains in the last hundred years, our classrooms remain largely unchanged. How can we expect our students to develop 21st Century skills if we are teaching them in the same manner we did a century ago? With all we know about teaching and learning why do we cling to traditional styles of acquiring knowledge? It is time for a change. Time for a revolution.