Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is Information Presentation Part of The Future of Teaching?

In our Information Age society, diversity and personal initiative are valued over control and conformity. We have abundant sources of information which continue to increase exponentially. What types of learning activities will carry on, and what types will fall by the wayside as education continues to move into the Information Age?

I set out to answer this question and I include the answers here and in my book, Educational Technology for Teachers. This post is specifically about one type of learning activity: information presentation. In other posts, I'll discuss other types of learning activities, including grading, classroom management, determining instructional strategies and designing learning experiences. 

"Information presentation" is where the teacher stands in the classroom and talks to students. Lectures are information presentation activities. Students sit quietly and pay attention to the teacher. There may also be visuals such as lessons on the interactive whiteboard, slideshow presentations, posters and pictures. 

Will teachers do more or less information presentation in the future? The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (p21.org) has designated a set of skills that are critical for students to survive and thrive in the 21st century. Among these 21st century skills are information literacy, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, technology literacy, initiative and self-direction. You will not find "sitting and listening" listed as vital for students’ success in the 21st century. One can easily see that skills like information literacy, creativity, and critical thinking are not as easily supported through methods of teaching that primarily involve the transmission of information from teacher to student.

The amount of information available to us continues to increase at an exponential rate, while new technologies continue to make access to this information easier and faster. Also consider further the possibility that students can access information from a variety of sources in a very brief amount of time. The amount of information created in our society continues to increase exponentially (Dragland, 2013; Lyman & Varian, 2003). In fact, a recent study found that 90% of the world’s data was created during only the past few years (Dragland, 2013). In addition, computers and mobile devices allow for faster, easier and more universal access to this information. Therefore:

A teacher can no longer assume that he or she is the sole source of information from which students can learn.

With a variety of information sources available and almost universal access to the information, it will be less likely in the future for teachers to use class time to present information, although this learning method is not likely to suddenly go away.


Dragland, A. (2013). Big Data, for better or worse: 90% of world’s data generated over last two years. SINTEF. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.sintef.no/home/Press-Room/Research-News/Big-Data--for-better-or-worse/

Lyman, P., & Varian, H. R. (2003). Summary of findings. How Much Information? Retrieved February 15, 2010, from http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/research/projects/how-much-info-2003/execsum.htm

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