Interesting article @ Wired. [Thanks Stephen for the pointer].
“Of course, good teaching is always going to be crucial, as is the mastering of formal academic prose. But it’s also becoming clear that online media are pushing literacy into cool directions. The brevity of texting and status updating teaches young people to deploy haiku-like concision. At the same time, the proliferation of new forms of online pop-cultural exegesis—from sprawling TV-show recaps to 15,000-word videogame walkthroughs—has given them a chance to write enormously long and complex pieces of prose, often while working collaboratively with others.
We think of writing as either good or bad. What today’s young people know is that knowing who you’re writing for and why you’re writing might be the most crucial factor of all.”
Explaining that this type of writing is valuable is the hard part.
Arthur Marshall was an astonishing man. At lunch today, I was told about his novel approach to training pilots, and I wonder what sort of place it might have in a classroom.
“Marshall started giving flying lessons after completing only 70 hours himself, and he was made a master instructor by the Guild of Air Pilots in 1931. From his experience he became convinced that selected ab initio pupils would make the best flying instructors, in contrast to the accepted RAF practice that only the more experienced pilots could perform this role. Operating on this principle, Marshallâ€™s flying training methods resulted in the companyâ€™s elementary flying training schools being the most productive in the country. His scheme was eventually adopted across the RAF, for which the Marshall flying schools trained more than 20,000 pilots and instructors during the Second World War.”
Could that sort of approach work in the classroom? For instance, a lesson a week where a child from the year above teaches a child from the year below? Maybe have other kids as homework mentors? Tricky, I suppose, for practical reasons but there’s some real potential for modelling it digitally via the web 2.0 gamut …