6 Replies Latest reply on Mar 14, 2010 5:54 AM by coxd

    On "An Open Letter to Educators"

      I don't really know if anyone has posted on this video yet, but it took me by surprise. Dan Brown (not the novelist) talks about the state of the educational institution today and reveals why he dropped out of college. This is worth even a second or third look. Do you think he took an extreme route to protest but he is very young? Is a college student experienced enough to make such a judgment, or is he a voice for a large number of contemporary learners?   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P2PGGeTOA4


        • Re: On "An Open Letter to Educators"



          Thanks so much for posting the video and starting this discussion. As I watched the video (being careful to not judge Dan for dropping out of college) I made a few observations:

          1. Information is "Free" meaning liberated. Notice how easily one may find a "route" for travel today compared to the use of a map or atlas in the past.
          2. Institutional Education needs to do more for education ... for example going beyond memorized facts from class.
          3. I also think Dan did a great job of reminding us that today Facts are Free ... they are all available online! He also makes a good point of describing how textbooks have less accurate and less timely information than is available online.

          Watching the video made me reflect on my own classroom. If my 7th grade students were given the opportunity to drop out like Dan did, would they do so because they can get a better education than I'm providing? Would my students want to continue in my classroom because I'm providing them with more than they could get by themselves online?


          I've been in way too many classes like Dan describes. I understood his comments and feelings. How do you see Intel Teach offerings helping individuals like Dan decide schools are providing the kind of education they need?

            • Re: On "An Open Letter to Educators"

              Thanks for the great reply, Glen. When I was a boy, I saw photos of a Buddhist monk who set himself on fire and died as a result out of protest in hopes that his death would mean something to his cause of peace. I am not sure if Dan has done something comparable or not, but such a protest should not go unnoticed or not discussed.

              We can ask ourselves thought provoking questions, ponder the ramifications, and create an action plan for dealing with our answers to the questions (shades of the Intel Leadership Forum!), but we must share the experience with others to provoke their responses (shades of TWT!). Engage provides such a forum for us all, and I think our answers here (even to our own rhetorical questions) must not go ignored.

              I hope the many viewers of this discussioin come back and discuss their responses and ours. To do less means Dan's actions will largely be ignored by one of the most powerful forums around and his vodcast will mean not nearly so much.

            • Re: On "An Open Letter to Educators"

              That is part of the reason that the drop out rate for HS is what it is. Developing good questioning for teachers and students is the core to what Intel is promoting. Creating thought provoking assignments that give students options is essential and if things don't change dramatically in education there will be dramatic changes. In NY St ED is looking at many different types of institutions such as museums to provide a path to teaching certification (and in some cases there are pilots in place already). Pre-service institutions are very upset but in some respects we have done it to ourselves but not being more responsive and creative about how we educate students.

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                • Re: On "An Open Letter to Educators"

                  Your response, JoAnn, reminds me that the first doctors were not medical doctors but philosophers. Their reactions to their environments led to our institutions of education today. Those outside our profession experiment with technology as well as all sorts of methods to increase productivity in their professions. The fact that so many other professions do this and we in education do so little speaks worlds to our problems. We have had a few movers and shakers in education, but we have become an institution rather than a vanguard for positive, meaningful, and directed change to improve ourselves, our kids, and our country.

                  You are so right: if we don't make the changes needed, then outside forces will--and those "dinosaurs" within our group will wail and gnash their teeth, condemning what they so often see as the changes as change-for-change's-sake....not the evolution our world demands we make now.

                    • Re: On "An Open Letter to Educators"



                      I think you hit a homerun with the statement "Those outside our profession experiment with technology as well as all sorts of methods to increase productivity in their professions. The fact that so many other professions do this and we in education do so little speaks worlds to our problems." Everyone I know in other professions experiments with technology and looks for ways they may use it more effectively. Part of the challenge we face in education deals with the extra cost associated with technology and putting it in the hands of students. As more teachers and administrators look for ways to embrace technology changes in pedagogy will be observed. This will NOT be a rapid change, but it needs to be done. My experience is that Intel teachers are by nature technology leaders.


                      What are you doing to help make changes happen in your school or district?

                        • Re: On "An Open Letter to Educators"

                          The high school where I used to work got computer labs in the early and mid 1980s. They were nice labs, one in business and one in my English Department. I became the go-to guy because I was known for using and talking computers all of the time. My wife had computer labs in her high school in the mid to late 1970s when it became a magnet school. Many teachers began to use the labs for research paper writing and peer editing and, in my case, a creative writing class and its publication.


                          We were among the first in Louisiana to get and use these labs. Other disciplines teachers chose not to use the new technology for whatever reasons although their kids were also using it at home and, like me again, were going online with local and national "wikis" we called bulltin boards, run off of the hard drives of the amatuers who ran them--although some became money-makers!


                          Having the technology in a school is great, but what is better is having district and school administrators' support by making demands for the integration of that eycnology (one reason I embrace teaching the Intel Leadership Forum today!). Our district and school administrators were as supportive as they knew how to be in the old days and embraced the technology for their administrative assistants, providing the technology and even PD they needed to a hghly  limited extent since software and its support were very expensive.


                          Today's schools by and large have just about everything that can be had. The sticking point is the continued lack of PD and demands-making by administrators. I understand their dilemmas though since there are great teachers who still don't use technology other than the required grade-keeping tasks, and the teachers are too valuable to alienate by making more demands on their already overtaxed careers.


                          All of this is to validate your comment on the slow change implicit in effective instructional integration in a routine and seamless fashion (Intel phrasing!). Intel MLs, as you have said, by their commitments show they are on the move in this regard, leaders in 21st century learning. Their innovative fires burn brightly on their faculties, and kids understandably gravitate towards them. Their fires inspire other teachers who in turn become ignited and start integration which in turn can ignite others.


                          Let us hope these fires continue to produce sparks that fire up some other teachers AND administrators. Until these fires become infernos though we have to continue our efforts to through all of the tribulations recounted in another discussion topic I've been reading about here in Engage an ML fighting connectivity issues for an Intel course.