Friday, February 12, 2016

Efficiency Is Not Always the Goal

Technology in the classroom brings about efficiency in teaching, learning and reporting on learning. Although I contend that doing anything online takes longer to do than we expect, eventually the familiarity with the tools can make that moot. It would be impossible to argue that the use of a device connected to the internet is the best way to individualize instruction and there are so many tech tools that allow students to share their learning. But, I want you to think if the goal of your classroom is efficiency.

What is the real purpose of efficiency? I think we are efficient because we want to get the most done with the least amount of effort. I can see the draw of this in our pressure packed classrooms where covering content is the key to scoring well on standardized tests. Surely we don't still need to have conversations centered around the value of teaching to the test anymore. So, if we can put aside the testing, what real value does efficiency hold for the classroom? Do we, when we choose to learn something that we are passionate about strive for efficient learning? I don't think I do. I want to wallow in my passion, follow tangents and share enthusiastically even when those who I am sharing with don't give a damn about it. Efficiency does not feed passion.

I want my students to have at least some time to learn passionately and not to worry about efficiency. I want them to share obnoxiously. I want them to wallow. Hell, I want to wallow with them.


  1. I agree with you, Will. I wonder if the efficiency piece allows us to get to the wallowing stage? Can we get done some of the things that are expected of us - efficiently - to get to the things we are passionate about?

    1. I think school needs to be separated into two halves, the half where we teach content standards and the half where kids have time to wallow in their own passions. We still need to teach efficiency too, the kids will need it when they are working or doing adult things they aren't passionate about.