The second thing I noticed was that nobody really had a solution. Rather, I noticed two schools of thought. The first school of thought hearkened me back to watching Walt Disney's Tomorrowland videos. They were inspiring and made me feel good about the future, but they were wholly unrealistic. The same would be said for Evolution of Teaching and Technology or A Vision of K12 Students Today. These videos are interesting in terms of inspiring people to not give up hope, but they are based on idealized views of children and their abilities.
Kids are Kids
Having taught for 13 years in third, fifth, seventh, and eighth grade technolgy, I can testify that children are very much like they have always been. Yes, they have access to new gadgets, but they are not these amazing little prodigies that are constantly producing, collaborating, and yearning to transform their world. The reality is that they are kids who, just like generations before them, only want to do as much work as they have to. They can be motivated and spurred on by fantasic teachers, just as students have been motivated since the the time of Socrates.
Anyways, back to my point. A Nation in Crisis: America's Educational System is Broken takes the "you are making zombies" approach, and paints a very bleak picture for education and our nation, without offering any real answers. The only answer I noticed in this video was that a parent revolt was needed. On that point, I agree since it probably would take a political revolt to change the current systems. That, however, is unlikely to happen so we probably need to work from within the system to bring out transformational systemic change.
Another Youtube video that depresses me is PayAttention. Now, I must admit that I love that video.
It is not accusing schools of creating Zombies, per se. Rather, it points out all the many things that teachers could do in classrooms if....
- students all had i-Pods, cell phones, laptops
- school districs allowed i-Pods, cell phones, and laptops to be used in school
- teachers had the knowledge and expertise to utilize these tools.
Is the Future Bleak?
So you probably assume that I have a bleak view of the future. The reality is that I don't. I think eductors are changing and school districts are changing. It tends to be incremental, and often on a class by class, or school by school basis, but change is still happening nonetheless. Maybe there will come a politician someday who has the foresight to institute a policy of transformational systemic change for every district in the country. Maybe..., but I'll probably go watch that video again for inspiration. You know, the one on fending off Zombie attacks.
Note: This post was published in response to 795B Futurewatch 1.