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Education strategies are backed by evidence

Re: “Forget educational fads — let’s get the basics right,” comment, Aug. 19. Tara Houle’s commentary includes one important piece of advice: Let’s examine the empirical evidence.

Re: “Forget educational fads — let’s get the basics right,” comment, Aug. 19.

 

Tara Houle’s commentary includes one important piece of advice: Let’s examine the empirical evidence.

As professor of education and Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology, I believe I am fit to shed some light on this issue.

Houle argues that there are “no empirical data” to support the adoption of inquiry-based learning and the use of technology in education.

That’s inaccurate.

The reputable scientific literature provides ample evidence about the effectiveness of both approaches. The consensus amongst experts is that both inquiry-based learning and the use of technology in education work under the right conditions.

What are those right conditions? There are many, but one that applies to both educational technology and inquiry-based learning is thoughtful integration and appropriate use. Educational technology works when it makes available powerful new pedagogies that teachers are trained to implement. For inquiry-based learning to work, we need to prepare teachers to enact inquiry-based learning with fidelity and rigour.

The public education system isn’t going to improve when we simply replace videotapes with YouTube or ask children to “discover” multiplication. That’s not educational technology and it’s not inquiry-based learning.

Our educational system will excel when policymakers, researchers, practitioners and advocates collaborate to enable our schools to support the types of flexible, transformative and empowering pedagogies that will allow every individual to excel.

I would be happy to lend my expertise.

 

George Veletsianos, PhD

Royal Roads University