The Dull Edge of Education

11/03/2011
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - JANUARY 5:  A screen shot ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

New York City bans all student electronics from its schools.

No cell phones, no iPods, no Blackberries, no iPads.

Yes, the city that cannot provide enough working technology in classrooms to allow more than two students use computers at a time in most classrooms has decided to maintain its stand against students bringing their own technology to school.

According to our chancellor and his boss, the billionaire mayor, who really runs the schools, education is teacher-delivered and nothing should distract from that one-way flow of knowledge.

Isn’t odd that this city that likes to think of itself as being on the cutting edge of finance and fashion is so far behind the times when it comes to education? Isn’t it odd that the man who fancies himself the savior of education has such an old-fashioned view about how it happens?

Last night reporters for Schoolbook, the new collaboration between WNYC radio and the New York Times, confronted chancellor Walcott and asked him if he would consider changing the rule regarding student-owned technology. He said no.

When the reporters commented that some believe cell phones could be useful in education he reportedly replied, “And cellphones can also be not useful in class as well.”

And another door slams in the face of our students.

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The Education Story the Media is Missing

10/01/2011

Teachers are lazy,
Teachers don’t care.
Teachers lose interest.
Teachers are complacent.
Teachers teach because they aren’t smart enough to do anything else.

That story is all over the headlines; how the schools would be so much better if they didn’t have those terrible teachers gumming up the works.

Sure.

Edcamp Philly Organizers

Image by kjarrett via Flickr

In late January 2010, a small group of teachers in Philadelphia and its surroundings had an idea:

Let’s put on a free event at which teachers, on their own time, will teach what they’re expert in to other teachers. The presenting teachers will do it for free. 

We’ll call it EdCamp. 

On May 22nd, that first EdCamp drew a couple of hundred lazy, complacent teachers who gathered together and learned from each other.

A movement was born.

Energized by what they saw at or read about EdCamp on Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the social network other small groups of teachers in other communities organized EdCamps. Before 2010 ended there would be six more EdCamps, all following the same model, in Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, Kansas, Florida and New York City.

Today we held the second EdCampNYC. It was the 34th EdCamp this year, there are 14 more scheduled before the end of December and there are already eleven scheduled for 2012.

All of them organized by lazy teachers who don’t care anymore. All of them free. All of them attended by more than 5,000 complacent teachers and administrators, some driving more than five hours to attend.

Let me make this absolutely clear. There is a rapidly growing national movement of teachers and administrators taking it upon themselves to organize and attend free conferences at which teachers and administrators freely share knowledge, resources and ideas with the sole purpose of becoming better teachers and administrators.

Impressive, isn’t it?

So why hasn’t the general media noticed? Why aren’t you reading about this in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Why isn’t it showing up on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN or any other network?

Perhaps because they are too busy listening to the billionaires and the politicians make the same complaints, mouth the same platitudes, and push the same, stale ideas to notice the people who do the job every day working hard to do a better job.

But now you know.  Help spread the word.

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