‘The old style of learning by rote will not suit the smart workforce of tomorrow’

8 Apr 2010

Investment in the future of the classroom is the right call, Promethean’s Graham Byrne says.

There are few Irish adults today who don’t feel a shudder run up their spine or who don’t have nightmares of turning up at exams with the dreaded fear they hadn’t done the study. Who doesn’t remember having to memorise vast tracts of Macbeth as well as specific theorems and formulae?

The funny thing is as you get older you actually enjoy and respect these things; my native curiosity was even aroused by Pythagoras’ Theorem recently. But back then nobody said “enjoy and engage”. Nope, they wanted you to pound as much of the stuff into your memory and then regurgitate it back onto a page in the exam hall.

While few things have changed, hopefully the Irish kids of the 21st century, aided and abetted by the internet and digital media, will be encouraged to enjoy their education, engage with the subject and develop critical thinking skills. Instead of learning by rote, kids
can mine data, tell truth from lie and even be encouraged to give their points of view.

For more of ‘The old style of learning by rote will not suit the smart workforce of tomorrow’, go to Digital 21.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Globally, more than 500,000 teachers access the Promethean Planet web content portal to bring dynamic content, such as
National Geographic, to life on whiteboards. Irish classrooms, says Promethean’s Graham Byrne (inset), must not be left behind

www.digital21.ieDigital 21 is a campaign to highlight the imperative of creating an action programme to secure the digital infrastructure and services upon which the success of our economy depends.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years