More than thirty years ago, Richard Clark made the famous claim that “media will never influence learning” and sparked a firestorm of debate that continues to this day. Despite all our best efforts to convince them otherwise, many remain skeptical. Ten years ago I first saw the cartoon comparing workplaces now with a hundred years ago. In all but one workplace the impact of technology is so dramatic as to render the “after” picture completely unrecognizable when compared with the “before”. The one workplace that remains unchanged: the classroom. We live in an age where we are now wearing technology that monitors our vital signs 24 hours a day – the real-world tricorder – but our classrooms are essentially as they have been for a century, so perhaps Clark was right after all?
Let’s unpack that a little bit. First, the old-fashioned classroom works to some degree. Where there is one teacher and twenty to thirty or more students, the “chalk and talk” method is a lot more effective than we are willing to admit. Read More