When I started this blog, I wanted to write about the gap between ed-tech claims and ed-tech reality. I quickly discovered that there was somebody on that beat who did it much better than I ever could. Ladies and gentlemen (and the rest of you), if you haven't already met Audrey Watters:
This summer, America’s premier education expert Bill Gates explained why ed-tech fails. “New technology to engage students holds some promise, but Gates says it tends to only benefit those who are motivated. ‘And the one thing we have a lot of in the United States is unmotivated students,’ Gates said.”
The problem, according to Gates, is not that ed-tech is crap. It’s not that many ed-tech entrepreneurs are snake-oil salesmen. It's not that people make these ludicrous claims about ed-tech revolution and ed-tech magic. It’s not that education policies are ridiculous. It’s not that the market-forces skew what gets pegged as a “problem” and what gets sold as a “solution.” It’s not that school is often boring and schoolwork often meaningless.
It’s that kids don’t give a shit. It’s their fault.
Ed-tech, on the other hand, is awesome.
And then she links to the Lego movie song. Go read the whole thing along with all the Top Ten trends in ed tech list. Then weep, weep quiet tears of grief for our profession. Between a post on teaching skills that describes the de-skilling of American teachers and the creeping idiocy of a nation that sees education only as a tool for employment and not for making a better country (or even for nurturing competing ideas about what that phrase might mean), to a despressing account of how big businesses has been skimming money from school budgets for private profit with little to show from it on the results side. I don't generally go for the full-blown Jeremiad, that's generally Withwindle territory, but after that Top Ten list we have the moment where we despair. If that top ten list is the future, than we all are in a heap of trouble. But than, I remember I am a history teacher and that for better or worse, many people saw a guy talk about his education and it helped launch a movement. Here in Philly, the movement has started. It's started in Chicago, and it's linking up with other movements. We still have hope, it's not too late. As long as your realize: