Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What ARE the ESSENTIAL questions....

Still reflecting on everything I learned at NECC.

One thing that was brought up on Tuesday at a meeting for PA educators at NECC, someone (and I am sorry I can't remember who) mentioned that the one thing that really stood out for them from one of the sessions he attended said that Of the 5 questions who, what, when, where, why... 4 of them you can google—the only one you can’t is WHY--Well this has been rattling around in my head ever since.

I think I am so passionate about changes in education because I was a different learner in school. The only class in HS that I ever struggled with was the one where I was only asked to recall information. Read, write, memorize...YUCK because I was looking for the explanations, the exceptions to the rules. I think about my own small children, almost every time they ask a question it is almost always followed up with "why mommy?" Yet as they move on in school somewhere along the road the "why" gets replaced with a need to cover content. What gets lost is the idea that perhaps the content would be learned BETTER if kids were given the opportunity....no REQUIRED to get to the why.

And when reviewing all of my notes I thought about how Alan November said we spend too much time on how and not enough on the when and what and WHY. He spoke about how we shouldn’t be teaching HOW to podcast but spending more time talking about when and what to podcast. In my notes, I thought about how kids then could be using those podcasts to answer the WHY question. November's session will be webcast (http://www.kzowebcasting.com/necc/) but wasn't up at the time of this post. I will definitely go back and review this webcast as he offered a lot of good things to think about when changing systems, getting kids to the why...
Need to keep that in mind when creating a plan for tech integration..


  1. But we HAVE to teach the how. Once they have the how down, then we can move on. Learners must possess the skills before they employ the strategies. I have noticed kids pick up the how at lightening speed....while I am still struggling myself....

  2. I guess I am thinking in terms of curriculum vs technology...Yes we do need to teach them HOW to use the tools, but the material they are using the tools to learn...
    lesson design needs to move towards creating projects where kids don't just learn the who, what, when, where...but also the why and having to explain why helps solidify the other information

  3. Have you read Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe's Understanding by Design? I think it might resonate with you after reading this post.