Today I had a professional development meeting. We were “learning” about the “new” software program that we will be using in math. I put the words learning and new in quotes deliberately. We’ve abandoned textbooks and are moving towards an all online curriculum. What I saw today was your old school teacher’s manual for a math textbook, posted on a screen. Sure there were video snippets, songs and games but the bulk of it, the part that is included in every lesson is just the same “old” program. It was a textbook, you remember the kind, with the vocabulary words in the corner (now it’s in a tab that you click on), the lessons for differentiated instruction and the ELL lesson too. Exactly the same. So much the same that students can’t interact with the text. What I learned today was oftentimes in education we repackage the same ideas, the ones that have been working and call it new. And I sat shaking my head and wondering, what’s wrong with paper and pencil?
When did paper and pencil become the enemy in education? When did the idea of writing things down become a negative? And, why is projecting the same math textbook on a screen considered an advancement?
Does anyone have the answer?