In a letter to Time, Annie Murphy Paul says “we’re overestimating how much computers will teach our kids” and undervaluing the importance of content knowledge:
“There is no doubt that the students of today, and the workers of tomorrow, will need to innovate, collaborate and evaluate, to name three of the ’21st century skills’ so dear to digital literacy enthusiasts. But such skills can’t be separated from the knowledge that gives rise to them. To innovate, you have to know what came before. To collaborate, you have to contribute knowledge to a joint venture. And to evaluate, you have to compare new information against knowledge you’ve already mastered. Nor is there any reason that these skills must be learned or practiced in the context of technology. Critical thinking is crucial, but English students engage in it whenever they parse a line of poetry or analyze the motives of an unreliable narrator. Collaboration is key, but it can be effectively fostered in glee club or on the athletic field. Whatever is specific to the technological tools we use right now—and these tools are bound to change in any case—is designed to be easy to learn and simple to use.”
Read on, here.