(Orginally appeared on http://highschoolbreakingnews.blogspot.ca/ Sept 1, 2013).
Students across Ontario are increasing pressure on teachers to upgrade their antiquated teaching habits as the “Mock a Difference” (MaD) movement gains momentum.
Feeling they have waited far too long, Ontario students have begun to take educational technology reform into their own hands. The MaD movement simply exhorts students to hurl light hearted but serious mockery on teachers whenever they use antiquated technology in the classroom.
Students’ irritation and anger about the usage of 19th century classroom technologies has begun to boil over into action. “I mean seriously! In what workplace do people drag a white substance across a black surface in order to write something for a group to see?” said one student shaking his head. “Is this a cave?”
Another student, concerned about the disconnect between education and the workplace said, “Sure, there are still a lot of paper forms in some workplaces around the country, but who writes more than a sentence on paper these days?”
In some cases, students are reprimanded for using 21st century learning tools. “I got in trouble for looking up a term on my smart phone the other day. A friend of mine had her cell phone taken from her when she asked her Twitter followers a question about the class discussion topic.”
Adolescents across the province are taking up the cause of mocking teachers the moment they pull out archaic technological devices. “Are you serious?” said one student to her teacher. “You’re actually going to write on that overhead thing like it’s 1960, and you’re not ashamed?”
“If I have to waste any more minutes of my life waiting for my teacher to figure out which way to move a transparency on an overhead, I’m going to lose it.”
Some students recognise the irony of using anachronistic information tools in our centres of learning. “This is 2013, the information age. Yet one of our main learning technologies is a mineral shoved inside wood that’s scraped across paper to make letters. Wood! We are still using wooden tools!”
Students’ concern about their preparation for future career is rising. “For the most part, all of this ‘information age’ digital literacy stuff that is required to be competitive in today’s economy and labour market – students have to learn it on their own time!” posted one student on the ‘Mock a Difference’ Facebook page.
When asked to look something up in a dictionary in class, one student responded, “Why of course! Flipping through a three inch thick book to find one word sounds incredibly efficient. What a great use of my time.”
Some students are dumbfounded at the speed in which information is processed using teaching tools from the past century. “I love it when my teachers say, ‘That’s a good question. I’m not sure. I’ll have to look into that later.’ What?? What century is this? Why would we not whip out a device, Google it, and know the answer in seconds?”
“It’s not really about the tools. It’s about allowing us to get at the information I need and use efficient communication methods that are already common. Free us up to engage our learning in the ways that this generation learns.”
Participants in the movement recognize that some teachers are trying. “To be fair, there are some teachers that embrace 21st century information technology and we like that. It demonstrates to the rest that our schools don’t have to stay in the past.”
“It’s sad that it has come to this. We don’t wish to be mean,” lamented a student passionate about the MaD cause, “but we have to take a stand against the stagnation of our education, one sarcastic comment at a time.”