Did your parents or teachers ever try to teach you something by telling you, "You will need it later?" I know I've been told that, and I'm equally sure I've said it! In an eLearn Magazine column outlining elearning predictions for 2001, Roger Schank of "Socratic Arts" and a columnist for eLearn Magazine, predicts that 2011 will "be beginning of the end of the 'you will need it later' model in elearning." He believes that the "just in time" model is more appropriate.
Algebra and geometry come to mind. My experience with algebra and geometry was, shall we say, less than fulfilling. While I know today some of the things to which algebra or geometry might apply, at the time I was in those classes in high school, there was no attempt to make those topics relevant to me. Just think, if someone had taken me to the local pool hall to shoot pool as I was learning geometry, I might be able to make those bank shots now!
The take-home thought for me here is to focus on what my students need to know when they need to know it. . .and to never tell my granddaughter "you'll need it later," (unless it's when I'm stuffing a cookie in her pocket)!