“This Will Revolutionize Education” –A Story That Needs To Be Told Again and Again

I needed to write a post yesterday morning. I had on my desk a few ideas from articles I had cut out of newspapers, suggestions that friends and family had sent to me, and pieces  from a chapter on donors that I had drafted and wanted to try out on my blog.

Before I decided which of these items I would expand into a post, I checked my website to see how many views I had overnight, what comments had come in and whether they needed responses from me, and, of course, dumping the spam that had collected overnight. I also checked to see who had clicked onto the site for that is a way I find out who is reading posts and a chance for me to pick up different ideas. And that is how I found today’s post. One reader had downloaded my monthly cartoon feature on technology for kids and adults to her website and also gave a link to a video called “This Will Rev0lutionize Education.” That caught my eye. I watched it. And I was startled by its accuracy, brevity, and elan in taking apart that common phrase used time and again by wannabe school reformers eager to put the next new technology into classrooms.

As a historian of school reform, I have written more than I want to remember about those rose-colored, feverish, high-tech dreams that appear time and again promising to transform classroom practice and how students learn. This video is seven minutes long and it vividly captures the hollowness of each generation’s claim that “This Will Revolutionize Education.” But far more important the video zeroes in on the centrality of the teacher to student learning beyond conveying information which new technologies are superb in doing.

At a time when blended learning, flipped classrooms, MOOCs, and, “disruptive” innovations pop up incessantly in media and rhetoric of school reform, what Derek Muller presents is worth seeing. So I now present the YouTube video: “This Will Revolutionize Education:”

Click on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEmuEWjHr5c




Filed under Reforming schools, technology use

25 responses to ““This Will Revolutionize Education” –A Story That Needs To Be Told Again and Again

  1. Pingback: In Praise of Explanations | Scenes From The Battleground

  2. Thanks for sharing that video. I know just where to use it. I have a class on ‘The Anthropology of Educational Technology’ coming up. I want to discuss technological determinism with them and this video would be the perfect way to start 🙂
    Also, thank you for all the other work you’ve done. I have been very inspired by it in my research. I am with the Technucation project in Denmark and I hope to get a chance to discuss my work with you in March 2015. I am handing in my PhD dissertation in January 2015 (title: “Technology in Teacher Education – and imagined or actual practice?”).

  3. I LOVED Oregon Trail. Seemed like good pedagogy to me. This guy is right, of course, but I know it won’t change me. I’ll still think the next craze is THE answer. I can’t help myself.

  4. Ann Staley

    Exactly right! Great U-Tube video!

    Ever since Aristotle mentored Socrates! And your mother gazed into your eyes as an infant. The best teacher is always a living, breathing, presence right there in the room with you. Someone encouraging you to learn and there to assist you over hurdles you may encounter. If you’ve moved from first-stages to proficiency to excellence, someone has been cheering for you along the way!

    Ann Staley

  5. kab13

    Reblogged this on Writing About Writing and commented:
    A fabulously constructed informative and argumentative video.

  6. What a great display of the historical folly of trying to fix education with technology! I’ll be sending this out, frequently!

    Regarding the centrality of the teacher, I’ll just point out that teachers work within a method for organizing the school district, which also has a very large effect.

    No less than John Merrow, education correspondent for the PBS NewsHour agrees with the following analysis. (See his post on Opting out on his blog, takingnote.learningmatters.tv).

    Organizing school districts with testing and the schedule guarantees:

    A) some students will be ahead, bored, idle and not working;
    B) some will be behind, tending to fall more behind, a problem which only compounds.

    A follow-the-schedule method, enforced with tests causes students to fall more behind, relative to grade level, on average, the more years spent in public school.

    Moving away from the schedule requires students get some amount of autonomy. This presents a different problem. Many students, are not _yet_ able to wisely and responsibly use the freedom required to follow their own individual plan. When autonomy is provided to students who are unready for that freedom, the result is chaos.

    You see the problem. For students to have their own plan, they need autonomy, autonomy many students are not _yet_ ready for.

    It seems like our two choices are guarantee chaos or guarantee idleness.

    There is a 3rd way from the Latin origination of education, educere, meaning to lead out the student from within.

    IF we could, and we can (we have evidence), by leading students through inner exercises in an “inner gymnasium”, little by little (it takes about a month), students begin to better hear the wise part within, develop the skill of the will, and a deep satisfaction takes hold;

    THEN it becomes safe to provide the very autonomy students need to work on challenges just right for each student.

    This is real education work – leading out the student from within – done by trained educators. Only students can do the knowledge work, the reading, writing and arithmetic.

    Leading out students from within begins to solve the structural problem of ‘the-one’ and ‘the-many’ that is unique to eduction work.

    …and there is evidence. It works.

    • larrycuban

      Thanks, Bob, for taking the time to comment.

      • Hi Larry,
        Most welcome – great post. I just wanted to add the follow-the-schedule method as something that limits the effectiveness of teaching; and share knowledge of a way for educators to use something that makes it safe to move away from the schedule.
        All the best,

  7. Perfect summary of my views on Ed Tech & ed reform. Thanks for pointing it out.

  8. Tina Cheuk

    Hi Larry,
    Saw this blog post from Dan Meyer (math educator) and Stanford PhD student and thought it would be of interest– it’s his analysis of Khan Academy math tasks and the limitations of technology. We have a long way to go.

    • larrycuban

      Tina, thanks for passing along Dan Meyer’s post analyzing Khan Academy lessons and items on one of the Common Core tasks. I had not seen it before.

  9. Pingback: 2014 Medley #26 | Live Long and Prosper

  10. Pingback: Comes the revolution . . . not yet — Joanne Jacobs

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