Sunday, March 2, 2014

What I No Longer Need to Know

With technology changing so rapidly, there is always something new to learn. We are bombarded with stimuli radiating from our mobile devices. How much of this we actually attend to is uncertain. We do know, thanks to the research of Dr. Gary Small and others, that web based information is changing the development and functioning of our brains. Since our clocks and calendars are remaining constant while the amount of information we are exposed to keeps doubling every twelve months, something has got to give. Either double the number of hours in a day, or allow us to scrape some obsolete scraps from our learning plates. In order to make additional room for modern learning, here are some things that I would like to remove from my personal learning platter.



  1. Cursive handwriting - I took a drafting class in junior high school, that was almost forty years ago. That also marked the end of my days writing in cursive. As my family will attest, my ability to write using pen and paper is downright pitiful. Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils, and Bic medium point pens are being replaced by bluetooth keyboards and Siri. Handwriting has become an obsolete skill. Off my plate!
  2. Spelling - Every device I carry, and nearly every app I use has built-in spell check. I used Blogger's spell check just now. Intuitive word completion makes my messages unpredictably exciting! Spelling has become an obsolete skill. Off my plate!
  3. Basic mathematical functions - School House Rock helped me learn my multiplication tables back in the day. No need for that anymore, I've got an app for that. Calculating in my head has become obsolete. Off my plate!
  4. Map reading - I couldn't wait for my parents' National Geographic to arrive in the mail so that I could pull out that month's fold up map. One of my bedroom walls was almost entirely covered by a map of the world. My dad loves reading maps. I love reading maps! Alas, I now have GPS to blame for getting lost. Sadly, reading maps has become an obsolete skill. Off my plate!
  5. Reading an analog clock - I no longer wear a watch because I wear my smart phone. There is a digital clock on almost every device and appliance in our home. Big hand, little hand, is no longer an important concept. Off my plate!
  6. Reading gauges and meters - Thermometer, barometer, and tire pressure gauge. All replaced by digital technologies. Off my plate!
Source: http://www.informl.com/2006/11/17/you-can-learn-to-be-a-star-performer/

What would you remove from the dinner plate of learning? 

This list is "tongue in cheek" for sure, but educators and students should at least engage in conversations regarding "learnings" that are meaningful and relevant, versus those that are better suited for an antiquated time. Teachers ask yourself, "Are you preparing your students for yesterday, or are you preparing them for tomorrow?" We all recognize the value of time. Let's effectively use time to help future-proof ourselves and our students.

photo credit: Walt Jabsco via photopin cc

1 comment:

dylangers said...

You're right! So many of these skills have become (seemingly) obsolete. I have to say that a few of these make me uncomfortable, especially map reading. Should be interesting to see how brain chemistry and structure changes over time, if I'm around for any significant adaptations!