Tuesday, February 27, 2018

My Reply to a Testing Organization's Request

A testing organization's representative asked me to consider having them cover the costs of my attending the SXSW EDU conference if I would specifically attend and write about the panel discussions featuring their representatives. I said I wouldn't be able to, and so they asked if I'd conduct a phone/online interview with a spokesperson from the organization on the topics that were going to be covered at SXSW EDU.

The correspondence has come from a thoughtful representative of what I'm assuming is a PR firm. I'm pretty sure my answer was way more than she bargained for.
I think you're going to find me too radical a thinker to accomplish what you might want... :) 
I like the comparison made in the second topic of assessment in education with medicine, because in medicine we understand that what is being measured is the effectiveness of particular treatments, whereas in education we're caught in the trap of largely believing (and acting upon the idea) that we are assessing the individual and not the teaching environment. As a result, we categorize our students, and have become comfortable that only a small percentage are actually going to be academically successful. To most students, that's actually the thing that schools teach best: that they are not good learners. The bulk of students leave unprepared for life and with the belief that they are broken or defective.
Perhaps that's overly dramatic. But perhaps it's not. I'm not a big fan of the general concepts of ed tech in learning, because most people I talk to don't actually have any real beliefs in how learning takes place. So they throw technology in the mix in a kind of "hail mary" attempt to stay busy and relevant. 
I now only conduct interviews that I think will get at the core issues of why our educational system is largely compliance, not learning, based. I've attached a report on ed tech in learning I did as for Acer as part of my modernlearning.com project. It's a pretty good representation of my thinking in this regard.
I'm imagining that this is way more information than you needed. But maybe it opens the door to something else.
The modernlearning.com report I sent her ("Modern​ ​Learning:​ ​Re-Discovering​ ​the Transformative​ ​Promise​ ​of Educational​ ​Technology") may just now hold the record for the least-read, least-interesting-to-people report on educational technology produced in the last five years. That may be because of flaws in my conclusions, or it might just be because after the little boy stated that the emperor wasn't wearing any clothes, the procession continued... as it must, since so many people depend financially on the current state of affairs.
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