Question: How is Google Maps different from NCLB?

Answer: It creates an environment to construct your own knowledge.

Most have used one of the popular online map sites. What makes Google Maps different is it’s has left its source code open to encourage programmers to link to their data bases to develop their own web-based geographic information systems. The result is an explosion of interactive map sites – UK autumn colours, Indiana University housing, records of bird sightings in India, and New Orleans businesses that have reopened. They’re growing so quickly that there’s a site  Google Maps Mania to help you keep up with all the new Google Map mashups. I used a free web-based service to do a Google Map of my recent clients.

Do I expect students to learn how to design Google Map-based program? No, but couldn’t students be given a chance to use information in more original and creative ways. The digital revolution has unleashed a flood of creativity with scores of new tools to copy, edit, alter, mix and redesign.

It’s too bad NCLB wasn’t based on a similar philosophy. Driven by growing accountability, students are rushed through an overcrowded curriculum with little time for reflection and few chances to create their own meaning. Last I checked “synthesis” was near the top of Bloom’s taxonomy.

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