Tag Archives: Huffington post

The Future of Education?

I (Cathy) recently read a blog posted on the The Huffington Post.  If you are not familiar with the Huffington Post, it is an American online news aggregator and blog, that has been public for 10 years.   In 2012, The Huffington Post became the first commercially run United States digital media enterprise to win a Pulitzer Prize.

I qualify the source only because I am always suspect of individuals or groups that make claims or forecasts about education, yet  know little about the systems. As I consider The Huffington Post a relatively reliable and informative source, I gave the claims made by , a guest blogger who was the Former President for the  Society for Quality Education a second look.

In this blog, Dare proposes that all education systems are cartels  (an association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition) and these cartels will be disrupted by the world of technology.  Dare suggests:

A software company might put together a complete online curriculum, with built-in testing and reporting, that allows students to progress at their own speed using tablet computers. Already much of this software exists, although it is not yet well organized. Another (or the same) software company might make it possible for parents to access individuals, or groups of individuals, who are willing to coach a group of other people’s children, possibly in their own homes or in a community centre, for a reasonable fee. Part of the software company’s services could be to vet the coaches and ensure they pass health and safety checks.

Dare uses Uber and Airbnb as examples of disrupters to systems and claims educational systems are next.  He goes on to say:

In fact, disruption is already taking place in the post-secondary sector — see UoPeople, the world’s first non-profit, near tuition-free, accredited online university. Currently, students can earn an undergraduate degree in business administration and computer science for $4,000 US, and more programs are being added.

I am fascinated by this blog for a number of reasons.  First, Dare assumes that a young adults  seeking to educate themselves  are comparable to young child who are learning to read and learning to socialize. I have taught children to read (and socialize) and I simply do not  think a  computer can do it.  There is a lot more to education than just text book learning!  Secondly,  Dare implies in the blog that teachers are oblivious to the affordances of technology and reject it for fear it will disrupt the “cartel” in which they participate.   Every teacher I know (from K to HE) incorporates (in degrees) technology into the teaching and learning in their classroom.  They are also aware that students can go online and teach themselves many things. They even encourage it.  The Khan Academy was designed for such learning and is largely responsible for the premise of flipped classrooms which are very popular right now  in Canadian colleges.  I do not think technology will disrupt the educational system.  I think it will just continue to enhance both teaching and learning. Technology and education will evolve together.

Lastly, Dare is completely oblivious to the most significant aspect of education – the relationship.  Countless studies have suggested a caring, attentive teacher can do more for a student than any other factor. Personally, I just can’t see technology completely replacing a good teacher, especially in the education of the young. People simply need people.



Let’s Not Forget About the Teachers

I (Clare) read this tribute to teachers in the Huffington Post. Lindsay Henry got it right. If you have a minute please send to this a teacher you know – I know that I would not be where I am today if it not for the many teachers who cared about me and worked tirelessly. I bolded a few lines in Henry’s original text.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lindsay-henry/this-ones-for-the-teacher_b_7555134.html

This One Is for the Teachers By: Lindsay Henry

It’s graduation season. A time where we focus our eyes and spotlights and applause on the students who successfully pushed through the exams, the essays, the sports games, the drama, to walk across a stage and receive that diploma. To graduate. Finally.


So we celebrate. We honor the graduates with parties and families and photos and cake. Lots of cake (preferably with heaps of frosting and rosettes and plastic graduation caps.) We write “Congratulations” on cards and give “How to Succeed in the Real World” books and write “Top 10 Things I Learned When…” blog posts. Of course the graduates deserve the praise and recognition and celebrations and cake and blog posts.

But this post isn’t for the students.

This one’s for the teachers.

This one is for the teachers who stand in front of the students every day, writing on white boards and planning lessons and doing all they can to prepare youth for the rest of their lives. This one’s for the teachers who are full of nerves and anxiety on that first day of class in the fall, then bittersweet sadness as they say goodbye in the spring. The Silent Heroes who put in the work day in and day out, sometimes viewed as the antagonist by the students for assigning those group projects, required readings, difficult tests.

But teachers face their own tests, too. So this one’s for them.

This one is for the teachers who made it through another year full of hurdles. The long days and worrisome nights, the frustrated parents, the conferences. The detentions. The decisions. The reviews. The observations.

This one’s for the teachers that blur the lines because you care so much for these students, as if they are an extension of your own family. The ones that make sure the kids have full bellies and open minds. The ones that are the only constant in some of their students’ lives, filling the void as a caretaker or pseudo parent. The ones that use their own money to pour back into the classroom with materials and books and supplies.

This one’s for the teachers that are so much more than teachers. The ones that are fighters, advocators, listeners, healers, all to reach one more.

This one is for the hard days. The days that are long and the nights are longer, your mind racing and running. The days where teachers feels unsure of themselves, the ones that go home and wonder if they are making a difference, if the lessons are sticking, if they should just pack up the apples on their desks and stop trying.

You matter. The lessons stick. Trust me.

My high school days are long behind me, but the lessons live on and those who taught me. So this one’s for them, too.

This one’s for Mrs. Kochendorfer, my first-grade teacher at Patterson Elementary in St. Charles, Michigan, who’s proud, grinning face is still etched in my memory when I read her “The Rainbow Fish,” just a shy 6-year-old back then with Keds shoes and blunt bangs.

This one’s for Miss Bell, with her huge heart and booming voice shouting throughout my high school hallways: “Practice abstinence!” We laughed with her and loved her because she laughed and loved us first.

This one’s for Mr. Brownlie, with his easy-going manner and button-down shirts and soft-spoken voice. He retired this year, and his dedication and love for his students poured back to him as his former students created a hard covered book thick with pages full stories of how he impacted their lives.

This one’s for the future teachers, the college students in classrooms of their own right now, balancing the act of being a teacher and a student, observing and soaking it all in so they are ready to change lives.

Because that’s what teachers do. They do more than teach. They shape us. They lead us….until we reach the finish line and throw our caps into the hair, grinning at the idea of the future, unsure of what’s next.

But teachers know what’s next: another school year. And so they begin another season of preparation and books and lessons and worries centered around fresh faces sitting in desks.

In this season of mortar caps and gold tassels, Dr. Seuss and “Oh The Places You Go!” lines are repeated as we stare at the backs of the graduates running forward into the so-called real world. But let’s pause for a moment and thank the teachers that helped get them to this point. Because without them — sorry Dr. Seuss — we wouldn’t have a lot of places to go. We would all be a little lost.

Congratulations, students. And congratulations, teachers. You did it. All of you

21st Century Learning and the Need to Shift Our Thinking

Several of our posts refer to 21st century learning, technology, multi-literacies and thinking about today’s student and world. I (Yiola) found this article from the Huffington post called: The Global Search for Education: Education and Jobs quite interesting. The article talks about the need for drastic changes to our Educational systems in order to meet the growing demands of the market place in the 21st century. Bottom line, technology is taking over many of the jobs people currently do and so we need to reconsider the skills we are providing to students. The article goes on to say that our traditional and current systems continue to develop linear thinkers and producers but what we really need to develop are individuals with:

the ability to initiate, discern, persevere, collaborate, and to solve problems creatively are the qualities most in demand today and will be increasingly important in the future. The problem is that our education system was designed, primarily, to teach the three R’s and to transmit content knowledge. We need to create schools that coach students for skill and will, in addition to teaching content. If we don’t make this transition quickly, a growing number of our youth will be unemployable at the same time that employers complain that they cannot find new hires that have the skills they need.

I tend to agree with the article however I raise two points for discussion:
1)   Teacher education programs do teach to the creative, inquiry-based modes of pedagogy. I certainly cannot speak for all programs but I am familiar with several and teacher educators do work hard to teach pedagogies that meet the needs of today’s learners. So, why then are classroom teachers not teaching in these ways? Or, are they?
2)   I have seen time and time again policies and actual changes take place at the Government level but once changes happen in schools it is often society at large that is in an uproar. For example, here in Ontario we have implemented Full Day Kindergarten (early years) and the program is designed to develop higher level thinking right from the start. This transition, while happening, has not been without significant reluctance from the general public. What then do we do?

For more considerations here is the full article:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-m-rubin/the-global-search-for-edu_b_5084761.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share