In reading Freakonimics this morning I cam across one of their latest posts on The Three R’s. The article shows a few great bits for commentary on learning and technology and the disconnect with schools.
First, the assignment is several questions on general knowledge. The young girl’s first reaction is to open up her web browser to Google. For her, general knowledge no longer needs to be stored in the brain, but can be retrieved in real time from a larger community brain.
Secondly, the girl’s answer to the Three R’s is recycle, reuse, reduce. This is similar to an anecdote I once heard about a ESL student answering a word problem such as “What is two plus two? How do you know that?” with a story about how he and his sister used to play house. The story was used to illustrate the cultural assumptions inherent in the classroom. Since this girl is obviously of middle class origin, her father being a regular blogger for Freakonomics, can we still blame cultural differences on her lack of understanding? Is this a problem of generations or a problem of teachers being inculcated into a seperate “teacher culture”?