Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obsolete Academic Skills

Recently David Pogue shared the story about how a reader took him up on his suggestion to buy the domain 'obsoleteskills.com'.

While skills to control once popular tools such as the rotary phone, the slide rule, and the 8 track tape player bring knowing nods and smiles, this train of thought got me thinking about a number of academic skills that are no longer relevant. Many of the skills we currently ask students to demonstrate, are more suitable for the past than for the present (let alone the future!).

Being able to search the card catalogue may be unnecessary, but there are related skills that do need to be taught: finding and validating the information found online for example. What other activities that should be abandoned/replaced? I'd love to see your ideas added to the Obsolete Academic Skills page on the Let's Ban Chalk Wiki.

Note: A new Teacher 2.0 podcast with reference to the Beloit Mindset list has just been posted.


Mark said...

This is a big pet peeve of mine. Schools are notoriously slow at giving things up. Just as we no longer need to be teaching students how to estimate the number of bales of hay that can be made from a certain acreage of land, we need to be giving up things like cursive right now. Instead of waiting to give up things once they've long since become obsolete, we need to be giving up things that will be obsolete 5-15 years from now, since that's when our current students will actually be attempting to find jobs.

Rodd Lucier said...

You raise an excellent point Mark. Entering many of today's classrooms is like stepping back in time.

Even though the future may be unknown, learners need not spend so much of their time using old tools, in ways familiar to their parents...