One of the major concerns regarding our educational policies today is the trend towards a "back to basic" approach to education.  Where test scores are the critical measurement of success.  In preparing our students, when looking at mastery learning, incorporating numerous instructive materials, is it just a method of memorizing a specific set of materials instead of genuinely learning?  And in so mastering of concepts, are we honestly promoting learning?  In our methodology, we have trained, not educated, students.  Students become disseminators of sound bites of information without knowledge beyond the simple yes or no answer or choice between A, B, C, or D. In being so focused on standardized testing to measure what students know, we have turned students from learners into products. "This "scientific'' movement was predicated on three main concepts: (1) The School as Factory, (2) The Child as Product, and (3) Standardized Testing as Quality Control. The child was considered a piece of raw material to be shaped by the educational "factory" into a quality "product.'' (Serafini F. W, 2002)

A better alternative would be to involve students in a more reflective, curious approach.  Our current methods of separating into subject matters seem more for operational convenience than for knowledge acquisition. The question is, does the specialization of subject matter feed into the idea or existence of keeping people separated and isolated from one another, and thus, by isolating people, we keep them apart and not a united front in perhaps questioning our policies and procedures?  Teachers think their area of expertise is more critical than others; a common occurrence in today's schools only reinforces this separation.  And does this specialization tend to make people feel their only value is in what they know in their tiny area of the universe (their specific classroom)? Bruener's Spiral Curriculum concept of the mini-adult and specialist turns students off from education.  When we turn the child into a physicist, as he states, we remove the curiosity of that child to explore their world.   We force them to study information that has no connection to their world.

In looking at the time I have spent in the educational field as a computer teacher and technology coordinator, I have continually worked towards integrating technology into the curriculum.  When I entered the technology field, students were sent to computer classes as a special, similar to art, music, or physical education classes.  The teachers would drop off their students and utilize the time as prep time.  The computer class time was seen as separate from the regular classroom lessons or activities.
Over the years, this mindset has continued to a certain degree.  The classroom is separate from what goes on in computer class.  I have worked with the teachers to understand that computers can be a powerful tool to supplement the curriculum.  But more needs to be done.  I have found that some teachers are very excited about using technology in their classrooms, while others fear or reject the idea.  As John Dewey stated in his book Democracy and Education, "But we are very easily trained to be content with a minimum of meaning and to fail to note how restricted our perception of the relations that confer significance is. We get so thoroughly used to a kind of pseudo-idea, a half perception, that we are not aware of how half-dead our mental action is and how much keener and more extensive our observations and ideas would be if we formed them under conditions of a vital experience which required us to use judgment: to hunt for the connections of the thing dealt with."

Education can be an exciting experience if we can figure out what excites students about learning.  With the advent of technology, learning has entered a new era of excitement.  Where before, information was sometimes antiquated using old textbooks with the Internet, new information is now at our beckon call.  Any new scientific discoveries can be brought into the classroom with a computer and the Internet.  We can apply this scientific information to our curriculum, thus making the curriculum both relevant and exciting.  Education and fun do not need to be separate.  Applying current situations to past events takes the information out of the textbook and places it right in front of the student to explore and question.   We can apply current events to multiple disciplines, creating a more integrated approach to education.  Instead of the material being foreign to the student, it becomes something for the student to relate to in their own life experience.

Bruner, J. S. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge,: Harvard University Press.
Dewey, J. (1961). Democracy and Education: an introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: The Free Press, London: Collier-Macmillian.
Serafini F. W. (2002). Dismantling the Factory Model of Assessment. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 18(1), 67-85(19).

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