Saturday, November 22, 2008

What did you learn in school today? Not much.

Following the suggestion of Heidi Tolliver-Nigro, industry analyst, I added this email after the original post:

Me to her:
"Given the discussion about education over at WTT, I thought you might find today's post interesting. My take is the problem is not Print training. The problem is in the design of education. Same thing about admonitions for training budgets. Given that there are a gezillion sales training programs out there. How come we don't have a gezillion great sales people? Given that you can spend $750K shouldn't real training come with the box? Given that we as country spend a gezillion dollars on education, how come everyone isn't smart?

The consultants blame the customer - "If only you would give me money to train you?." The vendors blame the customer." If only they would let us educate them." Teachers blame the kids or their parents. "If only I had a better kids" or more likely "If only their parents would X, Y or Z."

Meanwhile, the printers don't want to spend money on "training" because it mostly doesn't work. And kids play hookey. And both secretly blame themselves."

Formal education was not designed for learning.
It was designed for sorting.
Separate out the smart ones.
Let the others find blue collar jobs . . . or not.

It does well what it was designed to do.
The smart ones got accepted to the top schools.
They met other smart ones.
They joined networks of smart ones.

Now the schools have to be redesigned for learning.
It's not just about skills.
It's not just about curriculum.
It's about reorganizing time and space in schools.

The problem is that it's also about power.
The currency of power is controlling time and space.
People who are used to power want to keep it.
They keep the conversation about skills and curiculums.

They focus on what to teach.
The paradox is that it's impossible to teach.
The best you can do is to maximize the chances of learning.
Only students can learn.

There is teaching on demand.
But there is no learning on demand.
Learning happens all the time in many spaces.
But it's hard to make it happen every Tuesday between 9 and 11:30.

What to do?
Consider kindergarten.
They play in groups all day doing stuff.
They acquire lots of deep skills.

In kindergarten, they learn language.
In kindergarten, they learn skills.
In kindergarten, they learn how to play nicely with others.
In kindergarten, they learn who they are.

Little kids and chimpanzees are learning machines.
They learn to live and live to learn.LinkChimpanzees are sometimes put in zoos.
Kids have to go to school.

The future is now, just not evenly distributed.
Some schools are great.
Most school people are smart and hard working.
But bad design is bad design.

Suggested reading:
Print in the Communication Ecology
Print Stops Time
For Print Technology Education go to IGAEA, follow the link to VC journals from here

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