miércoles, 23 de febrero de 2011

ReHumanising the Clasroom. A cruxial Challenge

The Lectures-only classroom: ¿A Global Human-Animal Abuse?
¿Within Classroom In-communication in the Knowledge Society?
A Global Blindspot.
A challenge in Kowledge Society.
From individualized Lecture to cooperation Classroom.

Human beings are social species, whose learning to living has been historicaly a true social activity.

Industrial education, however, has conditioned the existence of a mass education education system, where social interactions are radicaly minimized along the learning process of individuals.

The old model of learning were based in "one-way" teaching, by means of lectures, where the active role of teacher is in clear contrast with the passive role of students, reduced to "get and hear".

With the radical global irruption of internet and the Web 2.0, Digital Natives are playing a radical revolution where double-way interaction is the basis of communication and today knowledge society.

But teachers, specialy Digital inmigrants, continue with the old model of "one-way" teaching by means of lectures. Along the process of massive alfabetization in schools and universities, we thus assist to a big and dangerous paradox. Actual global crisis may be interpreted as the shock produced by these two kinds of mentalities, coexisting in nowdays societies.

We use to relate the interactive classroom in university, with prestigious universities where students are organised in small groups, attending cooperative activities of teaching and learning where teacher and students co-organised, face-to-face, around a table. But we think that the problem here is not economic at all, but of change in actitudes.

As TEAL (technological pedagogical platform in M.I.T.) authors say, teachers, after years and years of practising the "1.0" or "one-way" model of teaching, tend to continue with their long experimented and repeated "lectures-model-of-teaching".

We think that allowing the students and teachers learning and teaching in cooperative classrooms, as a fundamental complement of the lecture sessions, would solve the economic and global crisis we see today in the world, and in universities, just because will increase the eficiency of universities, and will make happiers the lives of students and teachers.

What TEAL searchers seem to ignore is all the pedagogical searche made demostrating the superiority in cooperation learning over the "lectures-only" classroom. It is not, thus, a question of science teaching, but of any subject people want to learn in their life. Out of classrooms there are many real situations where 2.0, "face-to-face" communication dominate. The origin of the problem is in the mind-body dychotomy, still dominating in many disciplines. In scientific areas, specialy dominate the enphasis in the objectivism, conducting to see the students, and people, in general, as mere objects, and not subjects. By this reason maybe the paradox of lecture classroom is more a blindspot for scientists than for social teachers.

In the psichologistic or conductivist view, learning process is mainly related with only the left brain. But humans are integrated beings, where all the body is the system which actualy learn. For that reason Psychologistic view don't see as a problem the almost passive bodies of students attending a permanent Lecture classroom, and they don't see any handicap by this reason in the resulting passive learning process. Science shows today that an active body help both, the health of "physical body" and the health of the "mind", that is, of the brain!

21th century neurosciences refutate all that historical beliefs, based on the special (¿sacrality?) status of the brain. Mirror neurons, human echolocation, adult neural reproduction, neural coupling in conversations, the role of physical exercise in brain processes. One brain would be more active if all the body is active too. Digital Natives students must stop to be "inactive population" within classrooms. We have so many technological devices to increase interactivity in the classroom..., for example, connecting (just Skype!) diferent classroom in real time. But we have also our biological abilities for communication, just being (potentialy!) social animals, if they are allowed by an open, 2.0, interactive, face-to-face classrroom.

When speaking of technology we tend to forget that we, our bodies, are also a powerful technology ourseleves. We tend to consider a narrow sense for biotechnology, as any change in natural organism for producing any new product. In a holistic view, all biology do is biotechnology. Industrial education systems tended to isolate individualy the learning process, based thus, more in competition than in cooperation. In that way we could accept that lectures are not a true social activity, just because lectures don't enhance social interactions and (2.0) communication in the classroom. Anachronism of lectures is today more evident, just after the interaction explosion in Web 2.0, with its undeniable brutal impact on the development of a true Knowledge Society.

The paradoxical situation of Digital Inmigrant Teachers, is analogous to the obsolete situation of representationist democracy. Both systems, academias and governments, are in frank crisis both. And we have a door to solve their contradictions. To open the political, and educational spaces, in the way that Web 2.0 has opened in internet global communication is thus, NOT, a economic problem at all. It is a change in mentality, mainly in the side of politicians and teachers. For that reason, it is urgent that this debate, reflection, reach the academic communities, and conservation biology too, just we are a species whose quality of living and future are today in question.

Digital Natives are a "new species" who must deserve our attention as conservation Biologists, our future depends on their future. We, Digital Inmigrants, cannot continue silent around what happens every day in classrooms...

The world has become a global conversation, through the web 2.0, still absent in the classroom, which continue today a 1.0 communication structure. If Digital Natives are actualy GIFTED PEOPLE!, ¿Why not liberating the desks and we make classroom for gifted people? Why gifted students suffer in classroom? More humanised classroom, not only allowing to GIFTED STUDENTS to learn eficiently, but will mature the gifted human existing inside any (Digital Native) Student. When we see all with "dollar-glasses" (economicist view), it would seem that all universities and schools would need more and more money for a better education, as in Harvard or M.I.T. Anyway, as we, and others, have written,, the only change is that classroom became, as the salon of a bar or cafe, or cafetería!!!!!!!! It look as a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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