As 2009 and the aughts come to a close, lots of people are presenting retrospectives on the year and decade past.
A few pundits and experts (not necessarily the same thing) are offering predictions of what to expect ahead.
This rant is neither of those.
Instead I have a request in the form of a short list of phrases that need to be retired from the public lexicon as we begin 2010.
21st Century skills
As we enter the second decade of the century, this is a cliche that has lost whatever meaning it might have had. Mostly it’s used by politicians and education experts as a catch-all for whatever concept they’re currently pushing.
The skills most often included – creativity, critical thinking, communication, etc. – are nothing unique to this century.
And they are, for the most part, the diametrical opposite of the test-driven crap that has been passed off as education reform during the past decade.
digital native/digital immigrant
As outlined in the original 2001 article, Marc Prensky’s concept of how kids differ from adults in their use of technology had some validity.
Today, it’s degenerated into another edtech cliche, far too often used by adults to excuse themselves from having to learn about the every expanding array of tools for communication and collaboration that have become part of daily life for many of us, not just kids.
New rule: anyone who wants to use this term, must first identify what on the web isn’t “2.0”. That should kill it fast.
back to normal
This phrase has been used excessively during discussions about the economy but it is also invoked by leaders of companies and organizations (including those in our overly-large school district).
However, isn’t “normal” where we were when the wheels came off the bus?
In education, “normal” is the traditional system most people remember growing up with – and which isn’t working for a growing number of kids.
When it comes to teaching and learning (as well as the rest of American society), instead of longing for something called “normal” we should be working to rebuild into something better.
Ok, that’s my list. What would you add or delete?