From Now On

Vol 5 . . . No 2 . . . October, 1995


Throw away recipes and cookbooks

The best dinners usually emerge from the chef's inventive flair and imagination. The surest way to remain stuck in the mud is to keep baking mud pies with the same old recipes. Unfortunately, schools and other organizations are prone to convert new technologies to fit old ways of doing business rather than converting schools and classrooms to take advantage of the special features of the new technologies.

As one example of this trend, Information technologies now make it possible to center classrooms around student questions and investigations. In all too many cases, however, the teacher remains at the front of the room and the technology is brought in to serve the old model of "sage on the stage."

Frequently we design learning labs and spaces with a "smokestack" mentality, lining up the computers in rows which make it impossible for the instructor to see the screens or move from computer to computer. We wedge too many machines into too small a space and block students from working in teams or laying out project work alongside the equipment.

Innovation requires a fresh look and a fresh design.

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