As I read the book Web 2.0 new tools, new schools, I stop and think about the whole education system. The reason for thinking about the education system is that this book brings up excellent thoughts towards how the education system works and runs. I believe that one of the first questions a teacher should ask them self before the beginning of the school year is “what am I preparing my students for”? Honestly, if we look at the current education system, we can see a high emphasis on core classes such as mathematics, English, science, and history. I am not downplaying these subjects, but the question does come to mind, do we place too high of an emphasis on these subjects? This is beyond just a question in my mind, it was even suggested in the Web 2.0 book. In chapter 1, page 11, a quote states: “It is clear that the U.S. and other rich nations will have to transform their educational systems so as to produce workers for the jobs that will actually exist in their societies. …In the future, how we educate our children may prove to be more important than how much we educate them.” I do not think there is a better way to state the vision for the future of our education system. If we jump back a few sentences, we notice our 4 main subject areas again. As I look upon my own education in the past in addition to many other peers’ education, I infer and stand strong saying that the current system puts to high of an emphasis on the four main subject areas. Yes, it is true that I find these to be valuable classes, but if we want to start keeping up with this highly competitive world, then we need to focus on developing a dynamic education system that is truly able to adapt to this ever changing world. If anybody is in doubt about this need for adaptation to an improved education system, go check out the statements on page 17 and 18 of Web 2.0. One of these great factual ideas states: “Education is changing. We can no longer claim that the U.S educational results are unparalleled. Students around the world outperform American students on assessments that measure 21st-century skills. Today’s teachers need better tools to address this growing problem.” Though I agree with this statement, I am not fully convinced that it is primarily due to the lack of tools. I think tools add greatly to the classroom, but the question is not are our students performing well in 21st-century skills? The question should be, are our teachers preparing the students to adapt, research and learn to react intelligently to this ever changing world? The reason for this being the main question is seen when we stop to notice that our world changes so rapidly; by the time freshman in college graduate, what they learned their first year is basically out-of-date (depending on the class and major). This is the main focus that leads not to only focusing on educating about 21st-century skills, but instead to furthermore educate students to be able to adapt and quickly learn about the changing world in hopes of continuing to be productive in the world. It is possible that the answer for education is out there, and it is possible that the answer may have already been found. Whether one or the other, the question is there and the solution for dynamic education needs to be implemented.
Upon reading chapter 2 of Web 2.0 new tools, new schools, I noticed that my previous essay should go further. As educators, we need to notice that the education system does not need to solely change due to the changing world, but the education system needs to change to adapt to the changing students. On page 26, a statement is made that truly simply sums this change topic due to students: “According to Prensky, today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” This has been proven in many students and could easily be verified by psychologists, educators, business people, youth pastors, and many more professionals. Students are changing and they are not the poster children for the education system of “sit down quietly and listen to the teacher. Current students need to be interactive, they need the entertainment of technology, and they need their minds trained for expansion (not just filling of knowledge). I found that Farris-Berg on page 32 mentions an important finding: technology is important to students education, it is not an “extra”.” Farris-Berg developed these educational facts in 2005 from his research. Technology should not just be thrown into lesson plans here and there, the use of technology must be there and be used effectively for educating the students. As I heard a professor state with a strong emphasis, “technology is a necessary tool, but it should never be used as a crutch. Teachers today need to be well trained to be creative, innovative, and up-to-date (near state-of-the-art) with all of the new technologies in hope of training students to be well rounded for the competitive world they are entering.