Lee Crockett joins us this month to talk about digital learning and what schools must do to change their approach to instruction. The traditional school classroom is still locked in the past and we’re teaching as if it were fifty years ago, according to Lee. We are instructing our kids to be “school smart,” he says, teaching to tests, not giving our students the ability to think critically and creatively, which are the in-demand skills which cannot be easily outsourced or automated. In this provocative interview and in Lee’s new book, co-authored with Ian Jukes and Andrew Churches, you’ll find a road map for rethinking how we educate our kids and why we must shift the responsibility of learning from the teacher, where it has traditionally been, to the learner, where it belongs.
Q: One of the main points you make in all your books is that there is a tremendous disconnect between how our children learn in the digital age and how they are taught in the traditional classroom. The world has changed radically outside of schools, but inside we still teach as if it was fifty years ago. Skills taught in schools that were once valued are now obsolete or not as important as they once were. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Lee Crockett: One of the challenges that we are running into is the disconnect that is happening between children and teachers, and the institution of school in general. The reason for that is that school has been, I guess the reason we call it an institution, is because it has been stable and stagnant for a long time and the things that we are doing now are the same things that we were doing a hundred years ago. Outside school, there has been a lot of change; that means that learners can find information and then can find skills anywhere. Kids in particular, they do not use Google the same way that you and I would use Google to search for something. The first place they go is to YouTube, because when they want to learn something, they want to learn it just in time. The philosophy of ‘just in time learning’ to them means they want to know how to fix a mountain bike until it is time to fix a mountain bike. They don’t want to learn how to fix a mountain bike six months before that, they want to learn it when they need that skill.