Sunday, September 19, 2010

catching up to the dream

When I was first hired at the local band school (the Nuxalk Nation school called Acwsalcta), a quarter of a century ago, we were given a tour of the newly built beautiful building by the Chief.  Along with the sight-seeing, we were lectured on the dream of the Chief and Council to be able to do away with teachers by having video conferencing by experts with local people hired to be monitors.   Being polite and fearing to be fired on our first day on the job, no one chose to say a discouraging word.
   Now we can have a virtual classroom with smartboards and Elluminate conferencing (and School Board #49 does) and the whole world wide web at our finger-tips.  But I don't think the role of the teacher is gone.  The Chief was making the point that it would be cheaper to have one central teacher cover hundreds of students with someone to police the rowdies and to keep the students on task in the room.  But Wesch has demonstrated that that would just recreate the 19th century industrial-style classroom in a modified form.  What we can have now that wasn't even imagined then and that Wesch is advocating is a collaborative exploration of all that the students can bring to the problem posed by the teacher or by the student.  Wouldn't Socrates have been excited!

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