A Reflection On The ICTLT2010 Conference

#iCTLT2010 It's interesting how people who are at the same event can have such widely differing opinions on the same thing. David Warlick and I were both at the ICTLT2010 Conference, for example, but our experiences of the penultimate keynote were not the same by a long shot.

He writes:

One of the best parts of her [Jenny Lewis'] presentation was her questioning of why we still teach safe themes in our classes, like dinosaurs, Eskimos, etc.  She then suggested that our students, within the context of curriculum, explore more important issues.

The list these 'more important issues', taken from a book called High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them,  includes the following:

  • Reinventing taxation for the 21st century
  • Biotechnology rules
  • Global financial architecture
  • Illegal Drugs
  • Trade, investment and competition rules
  • Intellectual property rights
  • E-commerce rules
  • International labor & migration rules

Wait a minute! Does Jenny Lewis seriously think we should tell five year olds that instead of looking at dinosaurs this year, they'll be considering global financial architecture? And does the usually sensible David Warlick seriously go along with that?

I have to say that I thought the statement a little silly, and actually detracted from what Jenny Lewis said, which for the most part was pragmatic and encouraging.In fact, until I saw that David had commented on it, I was convinced that I must have misheard it.

Here are four reasons to not jettison dinosaurs and other favourite subjects:

  • These subjects are fun. Isn't learning supposed to be fun? Global financial architecture doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs. What does it even mean?
  • These children are, erm, children. Aren't kids supposed  to be kids?
  • Let me get this straight. Our  generation totally messes up the environment, finance, world peace and 17 other problems, so we decide to steal the next generation's childhood so they can sort it all out for us? Let them grow up first! Then they can sort out our mess and create one all their own!
  • If dinosaurs etc are taught properly, kids will learn to think and ask the right questions for themselves. I'd have thought that that is exactly what we want.

Besides, call me a big kid, but I happen to like dinosaurs.