Once upon a time, a time in the present, there were three little students, Olivia, Ryan, and Casey.
One sunny day, they decided to set out and learn something new. Their mother warned them to be careful and to watch out for students that might be better prepared than them.
They told their mother not to worry and set off on their learning adventure.
The first little student, Olivia, met a teacher with an armful of pencils. Olivia asked, “Can you teach me something?”
“Of course,” said the teacher, passing Olivia a pencil and a worksheet.
Olivia happily filled in the worksheet and passed it back to the teacher, who smiled, and said, “Very good job, Olivia. You got 90% of the questions correct. You are a great student. You would do well to go to college.”
Satisfied, Olivia walked away.
Soon, she came upon another student who said she was on her way to college. She asked Olivia if she would like to go with her. Olivia went.
At the college, they discovered that there was only room for one of them. Olivia was confident that she would be chosen, since she’d done so well with her teacher earlier. The people at the college interviewed both Olivia and the other student, gave them several types of tests, and looked at all of the learning they’d done in the past.
Confident as she was, Olivia was not prepared, and did not get into college.
And so she ran away…
The second little student, Ryan, met a teacher with an armful of electronic equipment. Ryan asked, “Can you teach me something?”
“Of course,” said the teacher, passing Ryan an iPod, a netbook, a scientific calculator, and a project packet.
Ryan happily completed the project in moments and gave everything back to the teacher, who smiled, and said, “Very good job, Ryan. I hope you had fun with the iPod and the netbook. You were very well behaved. You are a great student and you would do well to go to college.”
Satisfied, Ryan walked away.
Soon, he came upon another student who said he was on his way to college. He asked Ryan if he would like to go with him. Ryan went.
At the college, they discovered that there was only room for one of them. Ryan was confident that he would be chosen, since he’d done so well with his teacher earlier. The people at the college interviewed both Ryan and the other student, gave them several types of tests and asked them to solve problems with various types of technology.
Confident as he was, Ryan was only prepared to access information, not make connections and build something new from it, and he did not get into college.
And so he ran away…
The third little student, Casey, met a teacher who carried nothing. Casey asked, “Can you teach me something?”
“Of course,” said the teacher, passing Casey an object he had never seen before.
“What is it?” Casey asked.
“That is what you will learn,” his teacher said.
Casey was unsure of what to do next, but decided he should look online for pictures that were similar to his object. He asked his teacher if he could use a computer, and his teacher helped him find one. Casey thought it would be a good idea to talk to other students in faraway lands to see if they had seen a similar object. His teacher helped him connect. Casey looked in books, made notes, compared his notes with others trying to discover what the mystery object was, and drew conclusions based on the information he collected.
The teacher asked Casey what he learned, and Casey was able to tell the teacher much more than just the identity of the mystery object. “You would do well to go to college,” the teacher told Casey.
Satisfied, Casey walked away.
Soon, he came upon another student who said he was on his way to college. He asked Casey if he would like to go with him. Casey went.
At the college, they discovered that there was only room for one of them. Casey knew he had done well with his previous learning, but was wary about what this other student might know.
The people at the college interviewed both Casey and the other student, gave them several types of tests, and asked them to describe what they would do if they suddenly discovered a new species of animals.
Casey used all of his skills for communication, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking and impressed the people at the college. He was rewarded for his skills by being asked to come to the college to continue his learning.
Years later, Casey went to visit his mother, and it happened that both his brother Ryan and sister Olivia had had the same idea. Each of the students told their mother of their travels. Olivia and Ryan were surprised to learn that Casey had been admitted to college.
Their mother, hearing their stories, said, “there was a time when filling a pail was a good idea, but as easily as I can pour water into a pail, I can just as easily pour it out.”
“Learning doesn’t happen to you, it happens in you,” she continued, “and real learning sparks a fire that ignites every idea for the rest of your life.”Casey held on to his chinny chin-chin and smiled.