As I've mentioned in a prior post, this is my 22nd year working in the field of education. For the first 14 of those years I was an English teacher, and for the last 12 years I've been working with education technology (You may notice that those numbers don't quite add up to 22; that's because for four years I was teaching English half time and teaching and working with education technology the other half of the time). And I was pretty excited today to see the two disparate parts of my work career intersect...
I was reading a book called Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools by Milton Chen. I'd love to recommend the book, but to be honest I'm finding it a little simplistic. For instance, one of the six sections of the book is about technology (which is why I'm reading the book), but the technology section posits some pretty unsound technology educational ideas without paying any attention to real problems with the ideas. In fact, anyone who disagrees with the author is dismissed as a "naysayer," though the author never really says what's wrong with the nay that the people are saying.
But I'm not here to put down the book. I'm here to share an anonymous poem that's in the book. A poem about education technology! As George Costanza said, my world's are colliding!
I checked all over the Internet, and this truly does seem to be an anonymous work (Several blogs don't credit anyone for it, giving the impression that the blog writer himself is the poet, but there are plenty of other posts of the poem that pre-date those entries), so I feel safe sharing it here.
Let's have a little competition
and get ready for the future.
I will use a laptop
and you will use a paper and pencil. Are you ready?
I will access up-to-date information.
You have a textbook that is five years old.
I will immediately know when I misspell a word.
You will have to wait until it's graded.
I will learn how to care for technology by using it.
You will read about it.
I will see math problems in 3-D.
You will do the odd problems.
I will create artwork and poetry and share it with the world.
You will share yours with the class.
I will have 24/7 access.
You have the entire class period.
I will access the most dynamic information.
Yours will be printed and photocopied.
I will communicate with leaders and experts using email.
You will wait for Friday's speaker.
I will select my learning style.
You will use the teacher's favorite learning style.
I will collaborate with my peers from around the world.
You will collaborate with peers in your classroom.
I will take my learning as far as I want.
You must wait for the rest of the class.
The cost of a laptop per year? $250
The cost of teacher training and student training? Expensive.
The cost of well-educated U.S Citizens and workforce? Priceless.
I have to admit--as a teacher and a lover of poetry, there's not a whole lot all that poetic in the work. And I could argue that many if not all of the stanzas would be better if they were reversed so that the paper and pen example was first. Still, the poem brings up some intriguing ideas.