Google in Schools
- Giving this a parking spot....
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: kirby urner <kirby.urner@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: Polite letter to Google Was: Re: Interactive Engagement vs Explicit Direct Instruction
To: The Physics Learning Research List <PHYSLRNR-LIST@...>
On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM, Bernard Cleyet
> On 2012, Jun 20, , at 09:10, Sam McKagan wrote:I've been doing some of the background reading following links through
>> Perhaps it would be
>> helpful for some representative of the PER community to send a polite
>> letter to Google pointing out our community's research on student learning
>> and the goals that are implicit in this curriculum, and genuinely ask them
>> why they are supporting it.
Hake et al, and have, as a result, developed the working hypothesis
that a core goal for Google was making teachers an allie, i.e. their
support was essential.
I've noticed in other programs this same phenomenon: that when
teachers perceive the funds are used to empower them in their roles,
they cooperate with the program guidelines and take extra measures to
insure the program's success. Which does not mean, by the way, that
the program won't be perceived a dismal failure in retrospect. Many
flash-in-the-pan vogue fads go nowhere in a few years.
What we should understand with Google is that it's wading into that
same wading pool as the Gates Foundation inhabits, which is thick with
people fearful about their jobs and suspicious of new technology.
Remember, USA schools do not issue or teach the use of cell phones,
even in dangerous neighborhoods where cells would save lives. They
still promote the habits and mores of the early 1900s, even 1800s in
For many years, there's been a mostly one-way exodus of would-be STEM
teachers from teaching STEM subjects, to practicing its skills in
industry, or at least this has been my experience. My grad school,
St. Peter's College in Jersey City, was geared for teachers, but a lot
of the young adults I met were refugees, boning up on technical skills
such as computer languages, so they could escape "dead end" teaching
jobs and participate in what was then the "PC revolution" (the "open
source" revolution came a bit later, after I'd already been a high
school teacher, and later textbook consultant).
I'm not saying IE is incompatible with having teachers, it's just that
rank and file teachers still envision themselves as direct instructors
much of the time. They want to do more than proctor bubble-in test
taking. They don't want to serve as auxiliary A/V experts, whose
primary job is to project from the required list (perhaps provided by
Khan Academy) of required viewing Youtubes.
No, many of them entered the teaching profession with the fantasy of
being listened to, of having the liberty to hold forth. They want and
need that kind of attention.
Regardless of research findings, it's important to look at high
schools (at least) as being for adults, not just children.
It satisfies a need many adults have to impart skills, and one of
these skills is the lecture, the ability to master the lecture format.
Transmission is by example.
But other kinds of rhetoric are important too, obviously. Having just
returned from the National Forensic League national tournament in
Indianapolis, I can attest to the importance of debate (in several
forms), improvisational speaking, radio speaking and others. Lectures
are but one of many means of instruction.
Here's a compromise: remember Show & Tell? Students took turns.
That's where IE meets EDI: students are expected to perform by
delivering model lectures on various topics.
In geekdom, we call these Lightning Talks and we've bundled and
franchised these into "Ignite" events, e.g. Ignite Portland, Ignite
Austin etc. We even have Ignite.gov at GOSCONs.
http://goscon.org/ignitegovspeakers http://igniteportland.org/ (note
sponsors Jive and Urban Airship -- officially geekazoid).
I realize the PER culture and geek / OSCON / Ignite cultures are not
the same (partially overlapping). We're more likely to actually work
for Google, is partly what I'm sayin'. We're thinking about our own
businesses, future recruits. Yes, working with schools is important.
> Please remind me to sign on too.
> bc not a PER rep. tho. (PhD, physics)