Content Delivery is Not Learning

I saw a tweet this week from Katrina Stevens that was sort of a 'ah ha' moment for me.  Now that I have had time reflect, I can't believe I never reached the same conclusion.  Many people assume content delivery equals learning.  We make this assumption about learning when we assign 2 chapters of reading for homework, but we think its different when we turn the reading into a video.

The recent influx of technology has spurred a whirlwind of content delivery ideas and teaching methods.  Prezi, the Khan Academy and the Flipped Class are a few popular examples.  The 1:1 movement has movivated teachers and adminstrators to make assumptions about learning:
'If our worksheets are on the computer, kids will like them and learn more'.
'If my lecture is recorded on video students can re-watch it and they will learn more.'
'Delivering content with technology makes students learn more.'
'If students watch a snappy video they will learn the content.' 

Some of these imaginary quotes are obviously hyperbole, but I've said or assumed maybe a few of those.  Have you at one time?  Obviously content needs to reach students in some fashion, but I think that is the pedagogical problem many teachers are facing.  They are trying to reach the kids with content.  What we need to do is motivate our kids to want to reach for the content themselves.  Learning is authentic, its chaotic, and it happens to each student in a unique way.

Some people defend content delivery by saying they have done this for years and it works--they have the test scores to prove it.  I think they may have found a clever way to encourage or enforce memorization, but I don't equate that to real learning.  I think it would do more for our culture and community to have a room full of curious kids who have more questions than answers.

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