Article written by

Joanne Larson

Joanne Larson is the Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester. She is the author of “Radical Equality in Education: Starting Over in U.S. Schooling” (Routledge, 2014).

2 Responses

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  1. Laura Brophy
    Laura Brophy at |


    Let me start with my own experience as a learner in this new age. As a student of photography and a member of a robust online forum for early career professional photographers, I have had the opportunity to participate in a learning community that gets at many of these same issues, and it has really challenged many of my assumptions about teaching and learning.  Knowledge in these environments is truly co-constructed and different participants have different areas of expertise.  Everyone (even the novice) brings their experience as a viewer to the table, able to communicate about how an image moves them. The photographers have the opportunity to learn at their own pace, and to explore in depth gaps in their skills and knowledge as they need and are ready for that knowledge.  The growth and learning that happens as a result is simply amazing.

    Of course, the visual nature of photography lends itself to the web.  But the experience has me really thinking about stark contrast between the ways I now drive my own learning, how my kids go about exploring the world and their social and extracurricular passions, and the kind of teaching and learning they encounter in the classroom.  To answer your question, I don’t think it’s too late. Yet.  But I also have a hard time imagining what this means for kids and schools in the future.

    Last weekend, the Democrat and Chronicle ran a series of op eds on imagining Rochester in the year 2033.  It is an intriguing exercise. As much as I have an understanding that we are about to miss the bus by ignoring these new modes of communication and literacy in most schools, I just don’t have a clear picture of what things would look like in 25 years if we embraced this profound shift in communication and redesigned “schooling” accordingly for future generations.

    What would this mean for kids, for schools, for communities?  What would this look like?

  2. Amy
    Amy at |

    Interesting post, especially the following: “I am wondering whether schools have completely missed the boat. What if it’s already too late? Schools are so busy transmitting static knowledge and putting increasingly severe boundaries around what is allowed that I fear irrelevance has already set in.”  It made me think: Up-to-date technology in a school is one small part of the equation. How it is used becomes extremely valuable, especially considering that each generation interprets and personalizes technology based on what is important to them. Perhaps “Generation C” (http://www.trendwatching.com/trends/GENERATION_C.htm)
    students need to be more involved in the teaching process to keep things interesting and relevant? It seems an older student helping to teach a younger student, using technology in the way that means most to them, would benefit all.

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