January 25, 2021

That’s All I Can Stands, I Can’t Stands No More…

I just wrote the following in response to David Warlick’s blog, Turning the Tables.

The Wikipedia outrage is great theatre, but even unfettered encyclopedic knowledge represents the most superficial aspect of learning.

I’ve said it a million times, but if the dominant metaphor for using a computer is looking stuff up, then kids will look up in appropriate stuff and adults will behave badly.

Did they distribute crystal balls in Vermont? Why are you engaged in predicting the future when there are things every educator can do today, that have been understood for a century or more, that will make schools better places for children immediately.

Any conference speaker arrogant enough to discuss the future of education should be required to publish their plan for reforming ONE school, complete with supporting arguments and references.

I am indebted to David Warlick for calling my attention to (soon to be?) web sensation, Epic 2015. I could not help but think that the Epic 2015 video is what an L. Ron Hubbard book report would look like if he was a 4th grader with a Macbook.

I suppose that the web video’s ominous music and voice of god narration is supposed to scare me about the future in which I will be old and useless. It makes this case by reminding me that Amazon.com sells stuff. Sheesh! I’m unimpressed and pissed that I just wasted several minutes watching this schlock.

OK, let’s say that the video’s shocking future predictions come true and newspapers disappear. So???

Newspapers disappeared long ago from too many schools. A few years ago, my sensational 7th grade social studies teacher tried desperately to convince 9 of more than 100 colleagues to subscribe to the NY Times in his school 25 miles from NYC. If 10 teachers subscribed, the daily paper would almost free. If more educators read a major newspaper each day they might be less inclined to look for inspiration from speakers who fill their presentations with crappy videos.

These conference presentations are reminiscent of the Andy Kaufman Saturday Night Live routine in which he played a record of the Mighty Mouse Theme and made hand gestures as a form of lazy mime.

Where is the original thought, preparation or practical ideas worthy of an audience’s attention?

I’m not a moron and I don’t make educational decisions based on random business data. Recommending that school leaders take this nonsense seriously, based on nothing more than production values, will only make schools worse.

Are educators anywhere near reaching their tolerance for hooey? I’ve just about had it.

2 thoughts on “That’s All I Can Stands, I Can’t Stands No More…

  1. Rest assured, Gary – in my neck of the woods most teachers have finely tuned bullshit detectors, and have little time for the keynote crew 🙂

  2. I guess the alternative is a session where the participants spend the whole time patting each other on the back, talking about their creds, and selling product?

    You should spend less time whining about what other people say and do. (You really seem to waste a great deal of time on it.)

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