Thursday, October 4, 2012

This. Changes. Everything.

If you're like me, you know all too well how little school has changed over the last 150 years. Many people hold technology up as the long awaited disruptive force that will smarten up our glacial education systems.

The wait is over.

Change is here!

If you thought the Scantron machine and the Khan Academy were disruptive forces on education, you're going to blow your load when you hear about this.

YouTube is testing a feature that allows you to create a multiple choice quiz.

Picture by Anthony Ha

This. Changes. Everything.

What a deliciously disruptive idea! I would have never thought of taking something like multiple choice tests and making them digital. Seriously, how do people come up with such crazy creative ideas? I'm sarcastically blown away with how this will change the classroom. Consider this:
  • Teachers won't have to tell (or yell at) students to NOT write on the test. Teachers will never need to photocopy and re-photocopy those multiple choice tests that they made 15 years ago.
  • Teachers won't have to waste time plugging in the Scantron machine or risk hearing loss when the Scantrons are run through the machine and are turned into replica AK-47s.
  • Teachers will never again have to try and decode the Scantron analysis sheet. All the data-analysis can be done mindlessly by YouTube.
  • Rather than wasting time allowing children to learn by doing something in a context and for a purpose, teachers can reduce needlessly complex and ambiguous concepts such as citizenship, creativity, communication and critical thinking to a YouTube video and an online multiple choice quiz.
Let's stop here for a minute before my sarcasm breaks the Internet.

In case you missed it, I think this is the:

Worst. Idea. Ever.


Why?

1. Multiple choice tests are a primitive form of assessment that has no place in a classroom that is interested in allowing children to construct an understanding for themselves in a way that encourages them to show not only what they know but what they can do with what they know.

2. Too often technology is used as a "shoehorn" -- that is, in a way that merely supplements traditional, less-than-optimal teaching and learning practices which ultimately leads the classroom to revert to the way it was before.

3. Using multiple choice tests on YouTube videos makes me think of what Seymour Papert said: "Before the computer could change school, school changed the computer."

4. The Khan Academy and online multiple choice tests are the definitive way of improving school by changing nothing. In other words, online multiple choice tests is nothing more than more of the same and is a great example of how not to use technology.


Let me be crystal clear: I use technology everyday and I know that if educators ignore technology, we risk becoming irrelevant to our students. This is unacceptable. If we are so drunk on technology that we spend all our time making our jobs easier by "improving" what we've always done, we risk being irrelevant to our students.

For every discussion we have about technology, we need to talk twice about pedagogy.

Chris Lehmann's comment on this post speaks volumes:
Simply put... if the best use of the technology at our disposal we can imagine is the evolutionary filmstrip and the evolutionary scantron, our failure will be epic and tragic.

8 comments:

  1. Simply put... if the best use of the technology at our disposal we can imagine is the evolutionary filmstrip and the evolutionary scantron, our failure will be epic and tragic.

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  2. Bazinga!

    Right you are, Chris. Right you are! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. I love technology and use it everyday to reinforce or teach a new concept in a way that keeps my students' attention. I like to challenge them in new and different ways. (I teach foreign language-French).I do not believe that multiple choice tests tell us anything other than that the test is easy. I am in favor of real thinking and analysis. That being said, evaluating papers for 160 students weekly leaves no time for me to cook, eat, clean, sleep or anything other than spending my time looking at and evaluating student work. I know that there are people out there that believe teachers are over paid, but to spend more than 80 hours a week grading and giving feedback is hard work! How do I compromise so I get some rest and the students get a high quality education that inspires original thought, creative thinking and true analysis? Any ideas?

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  4. Why can't you do everything you are doing minus the multiple choice?

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  5. Just made a slide out of Chris' comment!

    http://bit.ly/Q0zzUD

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello Joe,
    I am a student at the University of South Alabama, and I do not agree with the whole multiple choice quiz on YouTube. I truly think it is a bad idea.
    However I agree with you on the statement;
    "I use technology everyday and I know that if educators ignore technology, we risk becoming irrelevant to our students. This is unacceptable. If we are so drunk on technology that we spend all our time making our jobs easier by "improving" what we've always done, we risk being irrelevant to our students."

    We should not abuse the use of technology.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brilliant post, and I couldn't agree more. Your sarcastic enthusiasm had me laughing out loud. Love this quote: "For every discussion we have about technology, we need to talk twice about pedagogy." This is why I spend weeks exploring the TPCK framework with my pre-service teachers. I want them to be purposeful about their use of technology. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this new YouTube feature that is guaranteed to change nothing.

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  8. I like to use a little but of everything. If my locally developed Science kids never completed the odd multiple choice test, then they would likely never get a drivers license. Unfortunately, sometimes the real world needs to be prepped for.

    ReplyDelete

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