[ExI] education reform, was: RE: Why we are teaching science wrong, and how to make it right
spike66 at att.net
Thu Jul 16 20:20:29 UTC 2015
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of William Flynn Wallace
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 10:00 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] Why we are teaching science wrong, and how to make it right
>>…We think of the military as perhaps the most conservative and traditional segments of modern society with the education institution being the most progressive. I am seeing clear evidence that it is exactly the opposite. Details available on request…spike
>…Spike, education is very progressive, if you define that as getting into new things… BillW
OK cool let us look at that very critically important observation please.
Let us define new as new techniques and technologies to perform the task at hand. Consider what happens if you are the CEO of a company, and you fail to embrace or choose to not risk a new and promising technology. Likely outcome: your company’s performance declines and your competitors eat your lunch. The board fires you.
What happens if you are a curriculum director at the school board, and something new and promising comes about, but you choose to eschew it. Consequences: almost nothing. Example: Common Core education. It is a bit different, has been a buggy roll-out, mostly unpopular, but those who look into it see what they had in mind and sympathize at least with the goals. The schools which have embraced it saw mixed reviews, the ones which eschewed it, mixed. Consequences of either course: very little and declining. Reason: we seem to be on a course to eliminate standardized testing in schools. That way, there will be exactly no consequences, negative or positive, for how schools run.
What happens if you are a military leader and you eschew some new technology? Your enemies get that technology, you get killed, along with all those whose lives depend on your judgment.
So review that spectrum. CEO is conservative: company gradually declines. School board is conservative: almost nothing happens, and we are driving toward exactly no negative consequences. Military leader is overly conservative: death to her, defeat of her country. Result: military organizations are super-progressive, corporations are moderate and school boards are conservative.
I have two good examples. In the military, it is very common to see a system developed but is obsolete by the time it makes it to the production phase. If you really dig into it, you find that most defense systems are obsolete by the time they finish the development phase, what we call CDR or critical design review. They build one prototype, never put it in the field. We have cases like the most recent fighter planes, the F22 and F35. Both are super-maneuverable, fast, stealthy, all the stuff the war fighters always wanted. But we just don’t need them anymore. They are crazy expensive. So I predict the US will buy only what it contracted to buy and no more, other countries will buy a few and the whole notion of fighter planes with humans aboard will fade away.
Education: I am seeing how much difficulty the public schools are having in embracing the concept of advanced online learning tools. A perfect example of this is Khan Academy: terrific resource, so well done, open ended, lots of material, measures and stores student metrics indefinitely, and it’s free. The public schools don’t really know what to do with it. Fun examples available on request.
Trouble is, the quality of the research they do is poor to very poor. I have been to educational research conferences to see some of my students present papers (as it is the easiest venue - harder at psychology conferences), and the level is just shocking (not the students, the professors/researchers). The questions after a paper presentation are almost always laudatory and hardly even critical. Of course I had to try to nail some of them on poor research and never got a good response. Mostly they didn't seem to know what I was talking about.
So a lot of bad theory gets into classroom teaching when in fact they were better off doing what they were doing. They just love new theories and don't seem to care much about the backbones of it.
I'd like to see some of what you found.
On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 11:23 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
>… On Behalf Of Dan
Subject: [ExI] Why we are teaching science wrong, and how to make it right
Thanks Dan, excellent article. It has been clear to me for a long time that education is severely under-adapting to the technologies now available. A good example is found in my son’s elementary school. Education Inc. seems to be stumped by the opportunities presented to capable and driven students to study forward at their own pace, to go as far as they want to go. Schools have been limited so long by availability of materials and teachers who have mastered only through elementary algebra, they don’t know what to do. When they get a 4th grader who gets on Khan Academy and blasts through all of it in two years, then launches right on into high school level math, they are completely flummoxed.
We think of the military as perhaps the most conservative and traditional segments of modern society with the education institution being the most progressive. I am seeing clear evidence that it is exactly the opposite.
Details available on request.
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