Here are a couple of photos of the Google booth I took at an Ed/Tech conference earlier this year which made me smile.
What do you notice? Yes – there is a “sage on a stage”. Students are seated in rows. The teacher is the holder of knowledge which is being poured into the empty vessels sitting in front of him (yes, a him). No inquiry based learning or problem solving going on. So, not very 21st Century, then.
Google is a very successful company. They communicate very well with a wide range of people, and provide tools used by millions of teachers around the world (including me). But demonstrably they know when its appropriate to perform something that could be described as “teaching”, and to do it in a “traditional” manner – because clearly it works.
Does Google believe in collaboration and all the other 21st Century-isms? Of course they do, but still they recognise there is a place for students sitting in rows listening to the teacher. And this is not an attack on Google – it is a post in support of Google because they are not tied to a particular philosophy of educating their customers, and are willing to vary their method of delivery depending on the content and the audience.
So, Google is pragmatic enough to recognise the inherent utility of traditional-style teaching and learning, but are our schools (many using Google products) as equally pragmatic?