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In an article published on the Learning Counsel, Roger Stark and Betsy Hill write …

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

–William Butler Yeats

In education, almost everything changes.


Technology changes. 30,000 years ago, the height of technology was painting on cave walls near the village of Montignac in southwest France. It was sophisticated and, long-lasting. 3,000 years ago, papyrus made communication portable and more easily shared, and that technology allowed the spread of knowledge from the Egyptians and Greeks to the known world (at least the world known by the Egyptians and Greeks). Around 1440, Johan Gutenberg started the printing revolution with a movable-type press, increasing a hundred-fold the speed of producing printed matter. In 1774, Georges Louis Lesage patented the electric telegraph, and the restriction of geography was lifted from communication. 30 plus years ago, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web while working at CERN. And seven months ago, all the world heralded the birth of generative AI.

Yet, in these 30,000 years, one thing has barely changed. In education, the responsibility has fallen upon a “teacher” as the primary facilitator of knowledge transference. It may have been a tribal elder, a parent, a scholar, or a trained teacher in a now-familiar school classroom, but teaching has been seen as the primary catalyst for learning.

But as Dylan said 50 years ago, “The times, they are a changin’.”

Students possess a wealth of untapped potential that has been, for the most part, overlooked and underutilized. But by taking the steps necessary to empower students as the primary agents in their own learning scenarios, we can build a more effective educational experience. The goal is to create an environment where students learn, and where they learn to love to learn.

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