Why do colleges send millions (!) of undifferentiated pieces of junk mail to high school students now? We will waive the admission fee! We have a one page application! Apply! This is some of the most amateur and bland direct mail I've ever seen. Why do it?
Biggest reason: So the schools can reject more applicants. The more applicants they reject, the higher they rank in US News and other rankings. And thus the rush to game the rankings continues, which is a sign that the marketers in question (the colleges) are getting desperate for more than their fair share. Why bother making your education more useful if you can more easily make it appear to be more useful?
The valuable things people take away from college are interactions with great minds (usually professors who actually teach and actually care) and non-class activities that shape them as people.
"I think we need to consider the role of teachers in the classroom," she replies in a soft voice. "We are headed toward a teacherless classroom and must be guided by this fact." A teacherless classroom? I look around the table and hope one of the esteemed guests will ask her to clarify or possibly expand upon her statement. Instead, the guests just nod their heads in agreement.
The strange little man interrupts. "I agree. Technology is making the traditional classroom teacher less relevant-possibly obsolete. Soon students will be learning at home from online classes on their laptops." I silently question who will be teaching the online classes.
The Harvard professor tugs at his chin with his right thumb and index finger and compliments the senator. "In the future," he says, "students will be learning at home using their computers. School buildings and classrooms will not be the primary learning environment." Really? Could any sane person envision millions of school children staying home and learning a full curriculum online? I foresee a stay-at-home mom or dad spending most of the day trying to keep their children away from Facebook.
Where do I begin? I spent the last thirty minutes listening to a group of arrogant and condescending non educators disrespect my colleagues and profession. I listened to a group of disingenuous people whose own self-interests guide their policies rather than the interests of children. I listened to a cabal of people who sit on national education committees that will have a profound impact on classroom teaching practices. And I heard nothing of value.
"I'm thinking about the current health care debate, "I said. "And I am wondering if I will be asked to sit on a national committee charged with the task of creating a core curriculum of medical procedures to be used in hospital emergency rooms."
The strange little man cocks his head and, suddenly, the fly on the wall has everyone's attention.
"I realize that most people would think I am unqualified to sit on such a committee because I am not a doctor, I have never worked in an emergency room, and I have never treated a single patient. So what? Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach."
An uneasy silence cloaks the table. The governor from the South looks at his watch, the governor from the North bows his head, the governor from the Midwest stirs his coffee, the diminutive senator stares at me, and the strange little man grabs another strawberry. One by one the lunch guests leave the table.
I return to being a fly on a wall at a table.
I wonder how many other teachers have been treated in such a manner.
"Web 1.0 was largely a ‘push' operation, taking already existing content and posting it online," said Bower. "Web 2.0 is driven by ‘pull,' not push. ... Kids can create their own content and interact."
Before the internet, Bower said, the two most important developments from an educational perspective were the invention of the printing press and the creation of a university system. But both of these developments were "push" operations, he said--meaning they pushed information out to students, rather than letting students experience learning for themselves.
Now that we have the right medium, Bower said, we have to figure out how to take advantage of it. When any new technology comes out, he explained, we typically superimpose our old ways of doing things on this new medium--and education has been no different.
We haven't figured out how to leverage Web 2.0 yet" in schools, Bower said. Instead of pushers and producers of content knowledge, he added, teachers must become pullers and directors.
"If we're not engaging these kids, they're not learning."
Here is what google is looking for in their employees:
… analytical reasoning. Google is a data-driven, analytic company. When an issue arises or a decision needs to be made, we start with data. That means we can talk about what we know, instead of what we think we know.
… communication skills. Marshalling and understanding the available evidence isn’t useful unless you can effectively communicate your conclusions.
… a willingness to experiment. Non-routine problems call for non-routine solutions and there is no formula for success. A well-designed experiment calls for a range of treatments, explicit control groups, and careful post-treatment analysis. Sometimes an experiment kills off a pet theory, so you need a willingness to accept the evidence even if you don’t like it.
… team players. Virtually every project at Google is run by a small team. People need to work well together and perform up to the team’s expectations.
… passion and leadership. This could be professional or in other life experiences: learning languages or saving forests, for example. The main thing, to paraphrase Mr. Drucker, is to be motivated by a sense of importance about what you do.
EduCon 2.1 Proposal--What Will Classroom Learning Look Like?
Inspired by recent studies and reflections on the evolution of online social media and its uses by teens, we'll spend some time attempting to paint a picture (in some broad strokes) around what effective classroom learning might look like in schools that have chosen to evolve their models. We'll frame the conversation around the questions posed in the conclusion of the "Living and Learning with New Media" study released in November by the MacArthur Foundation. Those questions, as well as some other salient and relevant quotes are included on a Google Notebook page at http://tinyurl.com/educonlearning. Please let me know if you have other starting points you'd like to add. Reminder: this is a conversation, NOT a presentation. Together we'll make a stab at a vision of classroom learning moving forward and, if time, generate some ideas of how best to get there.
In 2008, Twitter really started to hit the mainstream and bloggers began adding widgets to their sidebars to display their latest tweets.
In 2009, Twitter will become much more tightly integrated with the rest of the blog in a variety of ways - watch out
by John Seely Brown and Richard Adler
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