Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Motivation, Discrimination, and Social Learning #TechEquity Breakout-Session

Today I will be facilitating a break-out discussion session at our Technology & Equity in Education Symposium at Hamline University. Our discussion will focus on this video:

Compare differences and similarities we face today with education and technology.
  • Have things changed?
  • What do the issues raised by these three men mean for educators?
  • What do they mean for schools?
Any response to these questions in the comments below will be shared with the group and greatly appreciated.

1 comment:

Ron Amundson said...

My experiences in the late 70's / early 80's pretty much mirrored what the guys in the video suggested. The video is dated 1995, so apparently very little changed
over that 15 year gap.

As a flight instructor, I dont work with kids, so I'm pretty clueless as to how things have changed K12 wise. On the other hand, the basic ed psych presented in the video is pretty much the same as it was in 1950 (when much of my instructor training was developed)

Some personal commentary on the video.

A buddy knew/understood racing suspensions as a HS junior more so than many n00b grad BSME's...

Herb Kohl's book, I wont learn from you... some kids like my buddy could read well, and his applied math skills were far above his peers. His school performance sucked. He could see right through most academic approaches, and blew them off.

If kids are given the ability to make own their own video game, kids will go ape...

I did that starting in 1977. I skipped geometry and pretty much slept through trig. What I learned from player missle graphics on my own far surpassed any available class work. In some ways, such was an advantage at uni, in others it was counterproductive. I had close to 5000 hours of fairly indepth programming before uni; I was too wise for my own good. I had an incredibly focused depth of knowledge, but little breadth. I ended up dismissing many professors as clueless, as I was far ahead of where they were in my specialty. On the other hand I could have learned much from them in other areas.

The era of kids building their own game has passed. It is now pretty simple, and they can achieve mastery pretty quickly, often without having to develop much as far as multidisiplinary skill sets go. On the other hand, any number of other activities, many brought forth with todays technology could accomplish be used, depending upon the kids interests.

Some commentary on these issues in general.
Ed Policy issues are almost always politically/economics driven rather than ed psych driven, and as such they can and often do vary. In some cases, policy is like a pendulum, albeit one with a worn out and half spun bearing. Perturbing the pendulum via external stimulus can accomplish some good... but the bearing at the top, combined with gravity often swallow it up in short order. As a result, despite wide knowledge of the issues presented in this video, fifteen years passed, and as the presentation seems to indicate, virtually nothing changed.

The problem of reaching each and every individual student, and the resources of time/money to do such has always been a problem, and will always be one. The allure of equity via LCD(least common denominator) processes is always present in the desire for efficiency. It will always fail the students and frustrate the instructor to no end.

I've often wondered if todays emphasis on standardized testing and uniform curricula encourages rather than discourages a LCD approach. In some ways, the one room school of 70 years ago in that its structure nearly prohibited LCD processes might well have been an advantage.