Sunday, April 29, 2007
Warning sarcasm ahead
You may have read that there is a scandal brewing in schools across the United States and even the world. Kids are using iPods and MP3 players to cheat on tests. A horrible use of technology…those darn electronic gizmos…they are corrupting the youth of the world.
An article by Associated Press called “Schools banning iPods to beat cheaters” outlines how “schools across the country are targeting digital media players as a potential cheating device.”
A teacher at San Gabriel High School in San Gabriel, Calif., confiscated a student's iPod during a class and found the answers to a test, crib notes and a definition list hidden among the teen's music selections.
These kids are desperate for answers…as the article indicates, “Even an audio clip of the old "Schoolhouse Rock" take on how a bill makes it through Congress can come in handy during some American government exams.” The scandal.
The only solution…ban iPods and other MP3 players outright…and while you are at it…reinforce the already existing ban on cell phones. Get rid of any and all technology that is enabling cheating.
According to the article, "a spokeswoman for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said it is not unusual for schools to ban digital media players."
Students need to do their own work so they can prepare for a career where their success rises and falls on working alone! And where they don't use pesky gadgets like cell phones, Blackberry's or other electronic aids to help them achieve their goals.
Because we know that every day adults in government, corporate and non-profit organizations do their own work without the aid of technology. And, they do it alone. Collaboration is bad, one person knows everything, working in a team is bad, helping a co-worker is bad. Stay in your cubical and don't talk to co-workers, keep your head down and focus on your own work. Don't ask anyone for help.
Wait a minute, this is backwards.
Instead of banning technology and struggling to maintain our 19th century schools system, why don’t we update them? Why don’t we leverage the technology of this “gamer and gadget” generation and embrace the idea that knowing how to retrieve, store and access data on hand-held gadgets in today’s society is more important than memorizing how a bill becomes a law. Didn’t Einstein state that he never memorized anything he could look up? Everyday schools force kids to memorize isolated pieces of trivia. (Witness "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?")
Stop the insanity.
Instead, let’s teach students how to navigate search engines, how to distill large amounts of information into “talking points”, how to organize information for easy retrieval and how to discern quality information found on the internet from garbage.
Don’t teach kids that the only way to be successful is to memorize information and then regurgitate it on a paper-and-pencil test. That is obscene and a lie.
In fact, the kid who is clever enough to understand the value of the information contained in the School House Rock songs, download them from the internet and put them on an iPod for a test is EXACTLY the person I want on my development team. Someone who can think outside of the box, maximize resources and who understands how to utilize technology to get the job done.
Schools shouldn’t ban MP3 players, they should embrace them.
I think School House Rock is a great educational tool, I’ve written about the instructional quality of School House Rock before in School House Rock, School of Rock.
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