Friday, October 05, 2007

Following up on the "Open University"

A few weeks ago I posted about the failure to utilize all avenues in developing an education system (the open university). It appears I am not alone in this observation:

Countries like China, India, and Korea have invested heavily in education over the last decade. They are now producing more scientists and engineers than we are. It is my concern that as we look to the future, innovation is going to come from the other side of the world.

Lacking a clear and present danger, the American education system is not mobilizing to support science, technology, engineering and math. Today’s generation of kids is the most technology savvy group that this country has ever produced. They are born with an iPod in one hand and a cell phone in another. They’re text messaging, e-mailing, instant messaging. They’re on MySpace, YouTube & Google. They’ve got Nintendo Wiis, Game Boys, Play Stations.

Their world is one of total interactivity. They’re in constant communication with each other, but when they go to school, they are told to leave those “toys” at home. They’re not to be used in school. Instead, the system continues teaching as if these kids belong to the last century, by standing in front of a blackboard.

Education has not changed, and that’s a problem. It was a good system when I came through, but today’s kids have changed, and that’s the part that educators are not realizing. It’s the kids that have changed, and our education system needs to change along with them.

Again, they are the most technologically savvy group of kids we’ve ever had; we’ve got to take advantage of that.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an advocate of change for changes sake. I tend to believe that systems evolve and maintain themselves for a reason, but I also know that sometimes inertia will carry something along far past its natural stopping point. We really need to examine if that is the case with our educational system.

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