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Buttered Cats? Teaching humanity using its very antithesis …

I love the Buttered Cat paradox, which Stephen Fry first put out there: if buttered toast always lands butter-side down, he said, and cats always land on their feet, what would happen if you strapped a piece of buttered toast to the back of a cat and dropped it?

Besides the awful idea of paraplegic cats, It’s a fun paradox, serving two purposes in this page – it shows the humour we can inject into enquiry, and it transposes to the problem of technology in education. Namely, we have limited time to educate our children in a world whose pace is increasing, through technology. To reign back that pace, to deliver real messages that teach and support our humanity, should we not embrace technology as our tool?

This, is the paradox we face as parents and educators, right now.

Every time a technology giant puts more IT into classrooms, teachers have to sacrifice time otherwise spent on more-traditional literacies. We dumb-down in order to smarten-up. That finite learning time is gnawed on by tablets, laptops, smartboards.

Wait, what? Doesn’t the technology aid the delivery of real-world skills?

Well yes, theoretically it can, practically it does – in some cases. But consider this: given the average teacher and the average student, which one do you suppose has the quicker grasp of new gadgets and software?