John Norton of Teacher Leadership Today (who has experience in these matters) says it’s all well and good to talk about how Web 2.0 tools will transform teaching and learning. But people tend to forget that technology is only half the problem. The real issue, he says, is that many educators lack experience in the construtivist, student-centered instructional strategies needed to make the most of social-learning tools:
Constructivist approaches have never been ubiquitous in modern American schools, and the knowledge of why and how to teach so that students (paraphrasing Schlechty) are the real knowledge workers—whose product is life-long learning—is still not something to be taken for granted in every school and classroom. Add to that the undeniable fact that a common reaction among school leaders and many teachers to No Child Left Behind (whether intended by its social engineers or not) has been to suppress constructivist practices in favor of “fact-tory” teaching that they believe will give the biggest standardized test payoff (whether it does or not). ...
But unless and until we create school environments where teachers are actively encouraged and supported to master and practice the teaching strategies associated with constructivism, we’re going to be bogged down in Pedagogy 1.0 for some time to come. “Time” being a very operative word here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.