Banned from the biggest library in the world

George Couros says:

If we got rid of a library in a school, people would be outraged that [we were] taking away information away from students, yet kids often hold the biggest library in the world in their pocket[s] and schools ban them from using it in the classroom.


They can use it at home but, hey, let’s just ignore that. Blocking is always better than educating, right?


Image credit: playing with information, Will Lion 

3 Responses to “Banned from the biggest library in the world”

  1. Michael Paul Goldenberg Reply December 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    The fear of exposure/access to “bad” and/or naughty stuff outstrips the ability to reason dispassionately in the majority of American parents, school officials, politicians. And in most cases, the kids make monkeys out of them anyway.

  2. This is still so hard to comprehend.

    I am very fortunate to be working in a school with a forward thinking eLearning guru, @jOhburns and a gifted PLN, while plodding along on a very relevant journey through COETAIL. I’ve always been one who erred on the side of zero censorship and 100% support for learners in their quest for information. Of course, this required us all to trust one another and be totally open and honest just in case we had those instances where we clicked on instead of! It’s going to happen, and it’s all about the new citizenship. Deal with it.

    In my schooling, the Catholic schools tried to censor or beat it out of us. Although, even though they pulled the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, we all knew which National Geographic was the best! I’m pretty sure that the same holds true today.

    Surprisingly, I have not found this open mindset prevalent in new teachers entering the classroom over the last couple of decades. In fact, most are well prepared to carry on the “Fordian”-assembly line, font-of-knowledge approach to teaching.

    I don’t get it. I would have though that at least the majority of university grads would be well versed and able to guide learning in an open-source, blended learning environment, but the opposite appears true. They are well versed in the latest packaged curriculum, most recent set of standards and test-prep materials, and they treat them like bibles.

    I am tired of waiting. Maybe we need to start from the lower grades and train students well enough to not accept and sit passively in situations that don’t meet their needs. Perhaps when high school students turn down the high-profile universities because the learning environment and professors aren’t up to their standards enough to meet their needs, change will happen.

    My students are managing their own iPad and are learning to use it whenever the person sitting next to them can’t help them pass any road block in their learning day. No more closed book tests. No more, “I don’t knows” because the new ask 3 before me include Siri and Google! They are learning that it is primarily a learning tool with infinite power, provided they know how to maximize its potential and minimize the temptations to multitask in passive play. They know they have choice in how they find, synthesize, present, and attribute information in order to demonstrate their learning. They are becoming aware that everything they create is adding to the “biggest library in the world,” and they’d better be mindful about it!

    I guess, we could be a lot worse off!

  3. I agree completely with your comments, Mick Huiet. In South Africa, standardised learning is becoming the norm, something to aspire to, it seems. Not only that, but the ministry of Education has decreed that 30% is an adequate pass mark for many benchmark assessments. And the success rate at that level is declining. All because students are treated as a mass entity rather than as individuals. In our privately run schools, thank goodness, the adaptive approach is more prevalent and successful in many cases – but sadly restricted to the economic band of (rainbow) people who can afford the extra cost of private education. I believe that all teachers should be aware primarily of the differences in thinking of students – and adapt their lessons and assessments to meet those differences. A far cry from standardised learning and assessment. Roll on the concept of dangerous irrelevance, roll on the concept of adaptive learning!

Leave a Reply to Michael Paul Goldenberg