Modern Education in a Postmodern World

This is really the bottom line, isn’t it? We’re clearly living in a subjective postmodern world. Yet, the culture of the classroom still reflects an objective modern world. If I have learned anything from my focus on media literacy over the past few months, it is that we simply can’t afford to keep doing that. It doesn’t seem to matter where I turn, there’s an example. This week, it was Gloria Bolger’s column in US News & World Report.

Bolger takes George Allen to task for clearly suffering from a lack of media literacy skills: “But, hey, don’t feel bad for Allen. He said something awfully stupid, at the very least. He also knew he was talking to a guy pointing a camera at him who worked for his opponent. And he’s supposed to be savvy. So no excuses. But here’s the larger point: The new digital technology has completely changed the face of campaigning, so candidates beware.” I just finished Richard Lanham’s book The Electronic Word and he says that electronic text is changing the face of education. Don’t we just have this sense that things are radically different?

Yet, I hear from my contacts in K-12 that electronic text and video have barely touched the classroom. Schools divisions are filtering because that’s what we did in a modern world. We are leaving it up to the kids to teach themselves about the postmodern world.

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