I’ve been spending some time reflecting on TedxOntarioEd and in talking with my mom, we both felt that one of the main messages our speakers were sharing is that education needs to change. Many of our non-educator speakers discussed how school didn’t particularly work for them and found it more of a struggle rather than enjoyable. This sentiment really makes me think. I am the kind of person who believes that people learn best by having fun and actively engaging in an activity and it saddens me to think that students still feel this way about school.
One presentation that I especially took to heart was Jesse Brown’s. His presentation focused on why we should be using other forms of texts in the classroom especially in English class. He is the co-creator of Bit Strips which is a program that I use with my students. He discussed how as a child he loved to read, but it wasn’t novels that he was reading, it was comic books. He tried to express his love of this medium to his teachers, but they made him feel that his choice of literature wasn’t ‘literature’ at all. Consequently, he did not enjoy his classes and I find this really depressing.
At my current school, I am lucky as we have embraced the idea of using graphic novels in the classroom especially in our applied and college level classes. The students really appreciate the change from a ‘typical’ novel study and it allows them to express more of their creativity. I think, however, this is only the first step in a revolution in education.
For me, personally, I think we need to be engaging with many other different types of literacy. In her presentation, Kathy Hibbert, discussed how we need to consider that there are ‘multiliteracies’ and it is our job to be teaching students how to navigate these waters. In fact, I think we need to be learning alongside our students as there are so many cases where they actually are more knowledgeable about the topic.
So what do we do? In my humble opinion, I think we need to start with being a bit more open-minded. Technology is changing at such a rapid pace, that we will struggle to even keep our heads above the water at this point, but to me, that’s the exciting part! We are on the edge of a revolution and it reminds me of a very wise monkey’s saying, “Change is good, but it isn’t always easy” Rafiki from The Lion King. So get ready for a ride, as after hearing dynamic speakers like Jesse and Kathy, the tide is changing!