As I was following the Twitter feed of the ASCD13 Conference attendees today I got a link to this post. It was so closely tied to my thoughts last week when I started writing here I had to reblog it.
I have an ongoing argument (mostly in my head for what I assume are obvious reasons) with test creators and the people they send into schools to push data collection and data use. I find the fact that someone has sold us something and is then hovering around to be sure we use it ‘right’ so our scores on their tests go up, disturbing on many levels. It has always bothered me but this year it has begun to make me question why my beliefs about education seem to be so far afield from those I see unfolding around me.
I realized I was having a pedagogical crisis of sorts one night when I was watching TV in the dark in the middle of the night. Normally I wouldn’t have been watching a rerun of a show called NUMB3RS, which I had never seen before, but I was tired and it had been a long week and I was thinking more than watching so it didn’t matter what was on in the background. However, it turned out that I tuned in for the exact moment when one of the characters said, “statistical probability is a wonderful tool, but when applied to human performance it is only an extrapolation of the past”. That was the moment when my wish to reach out and find other people who wanted to stop and think about what was going on was born.
This blog post put me in the same frame of mind so I had to share it.
UPDATE: Cool. This post was nominated and made the shortlist for Most Influential Post of 2012 by edublog. I’m really honored!
What if the earth moves and the sun is at rest? What if gravity is just a special case of space-time? Following both counter-intuitive premises revolutionized science and ushered in the modern world. Could a similar counter-intuitive thought experiment advance education from where I believe we are currently stuck? I believe so.
The educational thought experiment I wish to undertake concerns curriculum. Not the specific content of curriculum, but the idea of curriculum, what any curriculum is, regardless of subject. Like Copernicus, I propose that for the sake of better results we need to turn conventional wisdom on it is head: let’s see what results if we think of action, not knowledge, as the essence of an education; let’s see what results from thinking of future ability, not knowledge…
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