Luddite teaching that pretends students are not spending lots of time online when they are not in school strikes me as simply irresponsible. Teachers who teach for their past instead of their students’ present and future are as narcissitic as those who simply believe the job is done by dumping the technology in the classroom. It is a similarly insular thinking–an assumption that the “job is done” when one is not doing the real, hard, painstaking, involved work of engaging students in their hearts and passions and imaginations and helping them to learn to thrive in the world they have inherited.
If individual achievement in highly specialized research with quantifiable results is key to the Industrial Age, then what kind of knowledge and what forms of education are key to our digital Information Age?
Please, dear College Presidents, stop sending the police. This should not be a time to beat up our students, to spray them with mace or pepper juice, to kick and hit them, and, horrifyingly, to point assault rifles at them, finger on the trigger, as if waiting to shoot at the least provocation. STOP! STOP! We need to take in what is happening and change course. It is not too late. University leaders across the nation need to step back, think about what is happening, and be on the side of justice and right and, in the end, on the side of education. That is what our students want, and we want that too. We need wisdom and passion and moral vision. That is what we all say higher education is for. It’s a Gettysburg moment. I very much hope our university leaders will claim it.
The mentality of policing and regulating teachers is contributing to the national crisis of many of the best teachers leaving the profession. According to the National Education Association, about half of new teachers do not stay in teaching . In a U.S. Department of Education survey of 7000 teachers who had recently quit or said they were likely to quit soon , the #1 reason given was intrusive administration; another was cumbersome and ineffective accountability procedures.
In scientific labor/learning management, there is a set scale that measures only pre-defined kinds of productivity and pre-defined forms of achievement and you are assessed by a standardized form of testing only on those things, and you are them measured against all other workers/learners and rewarded on that scale. Badges for Lifelong Learning offer us other ways of measuring and other ways of thinking about what qualities and contributions we might want to measure.
So think about this history of past Information Ages the next time you hear a pundit blame the Internet for distraction, multitasking, diluted memory, asocial behavior, shallowness, loneliness, isolation, intellectual dilution and so forth. It may be the World Wide Web, or something else. Socrates would have urged us to blame our distraction on the alphabet. . .
What the pundits forget is that sometimes we can set the GPS for “least use of highways.” That’s a reality and a metaphor: we can use the current technologies to dial back and control the role and pace of technology in our lives.
The Honorable Cathy Davidson will be in Washington, D.C. to perform duties as a member of the National Council on the Humanities next week. While there, she will also appear on D.C.’s local… Read more »
Cathy Davidson will discuss “The State of the Humanities” with University of Illinois President Michael Hogan at the Chicago Humanities Festival. Saturday, November 5 11am-noon UIC Forum – Main Hall AB 725 West… Read more »
I had a great time at Authors@Mozilla this lunch time (Oct 31) and tomorrow, Tues Nov 1, I head to Authors@Google and then to San Francisco to tape Tech Nation on NPR’s KQED with Dr. Moira Gunn. Exciting!