To Make Science Real, Kids Want More Fun And Fewer Facts
Yeah, this was a headline on NPR ( http://www.npr.org/2013/12/17/251675532/to-make-science-real-kids-want-more-fun-and-fewer-facts )
Yup, let us entertain you is new mantra for education. Long gone are the hours in the library, the research, the writing (correctly), the thirst to know. Teachers should now be required to take entertainment classes ... forget the facts.
Look, I know science can be boring, and yes, there are many teachers, actually states and school districts, that are teaching outdated and boring science, but there still needs to be some facts. By the way, science 'facts' are changing on a DAILY BASIS. And there's the thing, with all of the new discoveries in physics, biology, astronomy, and all of the sciences, there is really no need for science to be boring. What kid can't get into quantum entanglement? Wormholes? Changing genetic expression using the mind? Crazy new material in chemistry? Seriously, we need to get away from teaching the 'plum pudding' theory of the atom and teach about things only coming into existence when we focus on them. But you see, these exciting things are not a apart of the science standards, so the fun stuff gets ignored in favor of memorizing the periodic table.
There is a fundamental issue here. Students are no longer expected to learn facts because they feel that all of the information is available at the click of a button. Brains are literally being rewired. But, without basic information, how does one analyze. formulate a hypothesis, or conduct experiments? What is to say that Google will give the seeker accurate information? In order to think creatively, there needs to be a storehouse of information in the brain, not on the net. Perhaps we really don't want this type of thinking anymore. Perhaps society just wants people to be complacent and not think to much.
The other issue is that almost every student has a cell phone and computer at school as well as an array of game boxes at home. Enter the teacher with facts and figures. No competition, the games win every time. Sure, the teacher can make a YouTube video or create math games, but the bottom line is that the answer can be had on the computer, so why pay attention? And forget history, who cares when the wars were fought, the battles won or lost, the order of presidents, or when an act passed Congress? After all, it's on the computer.
So yes, let's entertain the students. Let's make school fun, let's forget the facts ... just look them up. Classes don't have to be boring, but the pendulum has swung way too far. The 'nation of sheep' is becoming a reality and I have concern that it may not be able to swing back to the proper medium.