I’m glad someone I respect is having questions and doubts about the latest education-needs-to-change-in-the-21st-century video now making the email/blog circuit.
Learning to Change features a series of statements by education big wigs (familiar names, if not faces) about how our current idea of “education” doesn’t fit with the world that kids will be living in.
Lots of talk about communication, collaboration, 21st century skills, connectivity, creativity, which is all good.
However, it all feels artificial, flowing out of the video more as a laundry list of concepts and cliches than a cohesive point of view.
There’s little or nothing here to suggest that these people have any idea how these pieces could be assembled to create a new vision for teaching and learning.
Chris’ has some of the same and related concerns (he just expresses them a whole lot better than I can).
I just worry a lot that our ideas are being sold as panaceas, perhaps because they are being shilled by folks with a moneyed interest in them, and that makes it much harder to have an honest conversation about them. Because nowhere in that talk — which was produced and sponsored by Pearson Learning is there much of an honest discussion of just how hard implementation of these ideas actually is.
And I don’t know… perhaps under it all, I have a sense that these folks think, “If we just change it all up, the kids will all suddenly just start learning like crazy” when that misses several points — 1) we still have an insanely anti-intellectual culture that is so much more powerful than schools. 2) Deep learning is still hard, and our culture is moving away from valuing things that are hard to do. 3) We still need teachers to teach kids thoughtfulness, wisdom, care, compassion, and there’s an anti-teacher rhetoric that, to me, undermines that video’s message.
That add-tech-and-they-will-learn attitude is one that has permeated instructional technology practically since day one. It hasn’t worked so far and there’s no reason to believe that adding web 2.0 tools will instantly make a difference.
Without fundamental alterations to our educational structure, to what we think of as “school”, not to mention the shifts in societal attitudes that Chris noted, none of this will improve learning.
And then there’s the matter of the people behind the curtain, the ones who assembled the video. Like Chris, it was another factor that bothered me.
That would be Pearson Education and CoSN, both large organizations whose existence is very much rooted in very traditional concepts of technology use in education. I wonder how much change either of them wants to see.
Especially Pearson, which over the past ten years has bought up every edtech company they could find with little or no idea of how (or whether) they fit together.
Let’s face it, their profits depend on schools buying lots and lots of the same old thing.
But I could be wrong. Maybe I missed something or got the wrong interpretation.
Go watch the video, read Chris’ thoughts and see what you think.