WorldWideFuture Weblog

the future of education, politics, science and art

On occasion of my birthday

Once past the big 5-0, birthdays aren’t very special, though I guess this one is. Six months ago I had an angioplasty to fix a blockage in my artery, saving me from falling to the ground permanently. It took me only a very short while in the recovery room to realize it was me, not someone else you always hear about. This sobering realization gave me the perfect opportunity to change my lifestyle…better diet, exercise, and learn about the balance of life, work and interests.

The interesting part of all this is that I experienced a part of the medical system that really works. In an era of scarce medical professionals and a system trying to learn how to cope with technological change, an aging population and re-fitting business models, the wonderful folks at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) shows how it works. They are the perfect example of the professional learning community, an example of how education might work too. When you have a heart operation, you are invited to the Rehab Clinic and have the expertise of several professionals at your beck and call. They have you and your history recorded online on their intranet, so when you see one of the professionals, they are totally up-to-date on your situation and build on what the others are doing with you.

Now imagine if we did this with students? Knowing the educational history and situation of each student while you are working with them is a long way from just blindly giving them content and hoping for the best.

In the future, a teacher will be able to call up the details of every student to better understand how to teach them individually to accomplish their goals. Education must realize that though there might be a common goal (educate students) each student has their own learning styles, needs and goals (really? duh!) (They have a name for this, though I am loath to use it as it seems painfully obvious that this is what you do: differentiated instruction)

A wired teacher is a professional teacher
-Michael Scott 2008

June 29, 2008 Posted by | education | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment