I’d like to conclude with a story to wrap up where I’ve been and hopefully gone in this paper. I
realize my own limitations in this paper may be somewhat obvious to someone more versed in the field
of knowledge epistemologies, technology in education, and purpose in education, yet, I feel that my
own construction of this paper has illustrated my thinking and feelings of what is sadly occurring in
schools today as this paradigm shift is beginning.
I was recently in a computer lab with my class and a student who I’d had the semester before
was sitting at a nearby computer. I’ve come to know this student quite well through formal and informal
situations. I know she works extremely hard at her job virtually every night. I know she
has a fondness for animals that goes well beyond most. I know that she has low self esteem and a self-
consciousness about her appearance. And lastly I know that she couldn’t write a coherent essay about a
topic such as censorship, which she was asked to do by a language arts teacher, at or above a middle
school writing level. Still, here she was. Attempting to get the answer to the question, ‘How is
censorship affecting our society today?’ Her first and only attempt at answering the question, typing it
into Google. When her results came back, she felt flustered and confused. She had never been taught
how to conduct such a search. She’d never been given the tools to look for multiple sources that attempt
to answer the same question with different perspectives. She’d never been asked or shown how to
organize those ideas into a manner in which she could communicate and attempt to make sense of. So
ultimately she was lost and upset. Her ability to communicate her own knowledge of the word
censorship and its impacts on the society today where lost. Taken away from her by an educational
system that never told her that sometimes there are no “right” answers. Taken away from her by an
educational system that seemed to only value how she filled in a bubble on a multiple choice exam.
Taken away from her by an educational system that never taught her that her view of the world matters
and her experiences in the world matter and she has the right to express those feelings in ways that are
comprehensible to her.
A very Orwellian view of the world is depicted to me when I reflect on examples of information
overload and disengagement such as this. I have more stories. Questions by students ranging from
‘Why do we have to learn this?’ to ‘Why can’t we use the Internet on the test?’ Far too often I too find
myself asking the same types of questions. When will a system that does so much harm to so many
people take a look at the world which surrounds it and realize that there are a new and profoundly
different ways to go about doing what its doing. When and if this is ever realized, will be a day I hope to be standing at the forefront screaming ‘FINALLY!’
So, am I preaching to the choir here, or is this a story that needs to be told?