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School: Real and Fake Learning

This is in defense of what happened in Newark at the beginning of August with these poor defenceless students, the sad history of Anthony Soltero and all that stuff that incongruous school's contents are generating in the internet era.

How can these youngsters enjoy learning if we the teachers generate fake learning, some knowledge that kids and teens don't really need it right away. First, let me say that I agree with many of you that our schools are married with far too much fake learning. I love your litmus test of whether or not something is real learning. When I read it, my mouth practically dropped thinking of all the things that I teach that I would not want to be a part of … I am embarrassed to say that some of the things I teach are not even engaging to teach, let alone engaging to learn. It is, of course, a constant journey, looking for ways to improve my teaching and move towards more 'real' learning experiences.

My friction with this is, is there a realistic balance between 'real' and 'fake' learning? Can we turn everything into something so engaging that we would want to participate in, or are there some things that, at least for some students, are not going to be engaging but are important enough to learn.

I am thinking a lot about math lately, and many math activities might fit what you call 'fake' learning. I know that fourth graders need to learn their multiplication facts. Even with all this technology around us, multiplication facts are something that, I believe, people still need to know. Now, some student may be engaged by the way that you teach and practice those facts, but for some, it just isn’t engaging. Does the benefit of learning sometimes outweigh the need to engage students? Do we just need to work harder to find a way to engage the students, or does the cost of doing so outweigh the marginal benefit?

Perhaps this is where games or competition might come into play. A video game might easily turn something rote like fact learning into something more fun and engaging.

The text above was a comment left at Speed of Creativity by Matt. I would like to follow him up in his blog but I couldn't find a rational way, but certainly he has a point about this fake learning we are immerse everyday!

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