The question is: how do national trends we recognize in education policy interact with the (r)evolution we envision for schooling?

This post has been forming in my head for a while now.

Really, it's inception came about because I read Tough Choices at about the same time I began to involve myself in the school 2.0 conversation. I did that by:

  1. beginning my exploration of the blogosphere, reading only at first
  2. establishing a bloglines account and beginning to take advantage of rss
  3. starting this blog
  4. realization that interaction and commenting on other folks' blogs is necessary to making real conversation
  5. joining classroom 2.0 Ning, and going through the same evolution of non-participation/observation, testing, real dialogue.

So Tough Choices is an obvious example of the kinds of national trends of which I am speaking, but that is not to say it should become a pariah, representing all that is misguided about education policy in the US. Rather, because it synthesizes so many otherwise disparate concepts under one roof, it naturally assumes a lead role.

Lately, though, a couple of examples of national trends have hit the headlines, only to be rebuffed and dismissed by prominent edu-bloggers. Two examples:

A backlash against the use of tech tools in classrooms. And the ensuing response by thoughtful, articulate school 2.0 advoc...

Bill Gates' recent push for ed. reform through political financing rather than more traditional channels . And the ensuing scream by Will Richardson et. al.

Again, the question: what is the relationship between national trends (that many see as inevitabilities) and the School 2.0 (r)evolution? Or rather, we know what it is currently; what ought it be?

What are the trends? (Without commentary:)

  • Restructuring teacher compensation
  • Nationalization of curricula
  • School choice
  • Back to basics
  • Assessment +

And what, in the end, will be the synthesis of their emergence into the national educational environment in relationship to the way technology can shift pedagogy?

It simply isn't enough to just scream.

Nor to hold a line based on principle alone.

What is the appropriate convergence of these two trains, so that they do not collide?

Views: 44

Comment by Sylvia Martinez on April 26, 2007 at 10:24am
Everything AND the kitchen sink! ;-)

This is really important, and there is a historical pattern we can look back at and learn from.

Computers in schools first appeared because visionary teachers saw the potential for children to learn in revolutionary ways. I'm talking 60's-80's.

"Technology" (a term that became popular in the 80's) was the SCHOOL response. I'm using all caps to signify an institutionalized, generic response. Seymour Papert summed it up well. He's the father of educational computing and is instrumental in the current One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) movement to bring computers to children in developing countries.

He said that SCHOOL treats computers like a body treats an invading foreign object. It surrounds it and assimilates it. SCHOOL turns computers into machines that do what SCHOOL wants, thereby closing the door to revolution. Vendors help willingly, selling whatever SCHOOL says they will buy.

Here are some Papert articles of interest (note the dates)--these are not new issues. What's new is the individual's ability to use Web 2.0 communication to resist the SCHOOL response and create our own.
Comment by Ed Jones on August 30, 2007 at 7:25am
Jeremiah, where do you want to go with this? This post is 4 months old (an epoch in Web 2.0 terms). So maybe you've found other discussion places?

I started a project in 2000 to get teachers, developers, artists, animators, voice actors, programmers, and writers to work together to create new interactive content, and to raise the state of the practice in how we make content available to kids. Along the way, Youtube and web 2.0 sucked in millions of people, but the creation of interactive sound-and-motion educational content actually dropped.

I live part of my life in the National Policy arena, following those who built NCLB and who are now aiming at the NCLB reauthorization. I like to say that they are spending money and time in the wrong areas, that EduWeb 3.0 can solve many of their problems, but the truth is that we're not making the progress we'd hoped for with or without those funds.

We think a lot about the 50% of black Americans who don't graduate from high school; and the poor skills of many who do. We think about the 40-year decline in the knowledge of history and civics by all who graduate the public schools, and now even Ivy League universities. And I go to my alma mater and see immediately the nationwide trend to outsource the study of science and engineering to foreigners.

So what are you thinking about edhocracy this fall?


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