Britain Modernizes Primary School Curriculum with Blogs, Wikipedia, Twitter

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I love the idea of engaging students in new and interesting ways, I remember how psyched I was in high school when computers entered the classrooms. I hope books will continue to be a fundamental part of the education system but I can’t say I’d be sad if the paper variety was shucked in favor of an electronic version, but that’s just me (via Worldfocus):

A draft curriculum review of the British education system calls for primary school pupils to learn how to use Twitter, Wikipedia, blogging and podcasts as part of their school studies.

The proposals also suggest that history topics such as the Victorian era and World War II be given less time in the curriculum. The final version of the review is due out next month.

There are a number of interesting points for & against on the Worldfocus site.

Some thoughts: I think there is something inherently poetic in Twitter. The need to distill your words is quite powerful and thought provoking. I think the new global English that forms as a result of the internet will more likely resemble a tweet or SMS rather than Victorian prose.

Though I want to share one anecdote that makes me wonder where this could lead and some potential pitfalls. I remember once receiving a note from someone on this blog who told me that he wanted more info on one of my posts. I answered him respectfully, hoping to help him out, but his emails soon devolved into crude and mean spirited notes.

Our correspondence last a few days and I noticed that he only wrote me during the day and often misspelled simple words. Eventually I learned that he was a fifth grader and he wanted me to help him finish his homework assignment. I ignored his request but it makes me worry that millions of web savvy students could become terrors on the web…though if they were taught netiquette that trend could easily be reversed (and knowing the British, I bet some form of netiquette is part of the plan…here’s hoping).

My favorite commentary on the Guardian (which broke the story)–their article is titled “Pupils to Study Twitter & Blogs in Primary Schools Shake-up”–is a comment on a comment on a comment…so deliciously meta!:

Enabling kids to scrutinise websites is important.

No, it isn’t. I understand that being able to critique sources is important, but I don’t understand why it has to be applied to websites. What is wrong with books?

You’re writing this about a newspaper article published on a website….and commenting on it on a website. (source)

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Photo credit: Flickr user mallix constructs a Twitter class portrait. Photo under Creative Commons license.

One response to “Britain Modernizes Primary School Curriculum with Blogs, Wikipedia, Twitter”

  1. My concern about the blogging is whether people are losing the ability to relate to one another face to face. It is one thing to vent off within the “safety” of the web and quite another to use the same words and tone face to face with a person. This netiquette, does it have to be different than etiquette? I read posts where I wonder if it would be said to someone face to face?

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