November 08, 2011

Fact: ICT is *not* new (and learning has always been more important than teaching)

Well, only partially true. While researching out a seminar on digital stories I thought I'd plug into Google's ngram viewer, looking at how vocabulary has evolved in the millions of books digitised by Google since the 1800s.

My first search was on ICT. Surprisingly, ICT is not a new phrase, and the C in ICT may not have been added as late as the 1990s but as far back as 1800. My question: "what did ICT mean back in 1800?"

Teaching learning on ngram

Another interesting search, suggested by Tom, was "teaching,learning". Isn't it fascinating to see how learning has always been more important to authors than teaching. You can even see the industrial revolution kicking in, where teaching streaks ahead. Finally, the progressive movements of the 60s bring learning back to the fore. I wonder what the next 20 years hold for the balance of learning and teaching.


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It's a great diversion, Ngram, but I'm not sure you can draw those conclusions, can you? If you can, then a similar search, for "peace,war" would suggest that war has always been (much) more important to authors than peace.

You mentioned the progressive movement of the 60s bringing learning back to the fore. I am not quite sure what you mean by that. Does that mean you don't feel the way students were taught in the 1950s was as good as the 60s and beyond? Or do you mean that there wasn't an emphasis on the student learning, just the teacher standing up there "teaching". I can assure you, as a grade school student in the 1950s we did learn and did retain much of even the small details.

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Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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