Sunday, February 27, 2011

Internet vs. Textbooks

"The Internet doesn’t steal our humanity, it reflects it. The Internet doesn’t get inside us, it shows what’s inside us." (Rose, J. How social media is having a positive impact on our culture. Retrieved February 25, 2010 at

I love the Internet. It is exciting, impressive, and my own oracle of Delphi (so to speak). This morning I was watching the the 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. I had my iPad with me as I watched it, and I searched the Internet learning as much as I could about the story, the real information about the crew, where they settled, what became of the descendants of the mutineers, and whatever happened to Captain Bligh! (I believe Heidi Hayes Jacobs would call this processing the essential questions of personal curriculum map!)

I find myself multi-tasking with the Internet to enhance my understanding of a movie plot or information about the actors and actresses in the story. It adds an incredible third dimension to my appreciation of the movie, or a show, or the news.

I remember hearing noted futurist and technologist Alan November tell my doctoral class at Seton Hall, that technology is about information. How to use it, find it, and learn from it.

Isn't that what our students in school should be doing?

Maybe they are, to some extent, in their own way, but when I observe a teacher lecturing a blackboard or an overhead projector, using a pointless PowerPoint, or "controlling" a self-opinionated perspective on some issue, all to prepare his/her students for the TEST, I wonder how useless our 21st Century Schools have become. In fact, I would refrain from describing them as 21st Century, and more a throwback to a 19th Century schoolmaster image.

Diane Lewis, Director of Technology in Seminole County Schools, states that if you can Google it, why teach it? Instead, we should be showing students how to use the technology to research and use information. (Mellon, E. (2011 February). Virtually Possible. District Administration. Retrieved February 26, 2011 at

Active engagement with resources now available on the Internet can open a world of resources for our students. Why we still rely on useless textbooks that are static and never evolving with up-to-date information is beyond my comprehension. Is it fear that keeps us from pushing our students further to the point where they might know more than our teachers?

Schools of the future need to harness the energy of the Internet and begin facilitating the next level of learning for our students.

1 comment:

  1. Mike, great food for thought. I totally agree and am with you in my hopes that education will catch on to what's happening outside it's door.