Redefining Content

I am currently sitting in the lunchroom of the business my wife works in, waiting for to finish for the day. I am going out for dinner with work colleagues this evening and have arrived early to spend some time with her as I suspect it will be a rather late night. 

I have just had a conversation with her boss, who was telling me about how his daughter learned to play the guitar. The father had purchased said guitar towards the end of the previous school term, but there had not been an opportunity to arrange for tuition until the commencement of the new school term.

One afternoon, after arriving home from work, the father hears a guitar being played, the riff from Riptide to be precise, and assumes it must be a friend of his son’s. Upon discovering it was daughter, he asks where she learned to play as she had not yet had any lessons.

Her simple reply: “I looked it up on YouTube.”

Any skill or concept that educators today, whether primary or secondary, and including more and more of what is covered in tertiary education, can be learned via content on YouTube.

Algebra, grammar, string theory, art history, civil war, how to run more efficiently and and literacy skills are merely a small sample of what can be learned via YouTube (when I am home again, I will insert links to relevant videos on those topics). 

Where does this leave those of us who’s role it is to educate the students who can learn anything we could teach on YouTube? It is my contention that we are facilitators of learning, providing contextual knowledge and filling in the blanks, the minute detail that may not be covered. It also makes us troubleshooters, dealing with the misconceptions held by our students.

We need to redefine what we are and what we do, because if everything we are supposed to teach can be learned via YouTube, what is our purpose?

Thank you for reading and I would one to hear what people think and feel on this issue. 

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