In an educational context, we might say that whatever makers hope will happen by buying 3-D printers, Arduinos, and Makey-Makeys will not happen just from buying these things. Whatever outcomes we hope for in our students—creativity, innovation, ownership of learning, design thinking, tinkering, the freedom to explore—will not happen because we bought these things. Technology isn’t magic; teachers are magic. Buying new technology is easy. Creating the cultural, policy and political contexts where innovative teaching can thrive is really hard.
How much do you think you know about science compared to the average Earthling? Take Pew Research Center’s 13 question Science and Technology Knowledge Quiz and see where you stack up.
Hopefully reading It’s Okay To Be Smart will help you all get 100%. How’d you do?
Parents like the idea of smaller class sizes in the same way that people like the idea of having a personal chef. Parents imagine that their kids will have one of the Iron Chefs. But when you have to hire almost 3.3 million chefs, you’re liable to end up with something closer to the fry-guy from the local burger joint.
There is also a trade-off between the number of teachers we have and the salary we can offer to attract better-quality people. As the teacher force has grown by almost 50% over the past four decades, average salaries for teachers (adjusted for inflation) have grown only 11%, the Department of Education reports. Imagine what kinds of teachers we might be able to recruit if those figures had been flipped and we were offering 50% more pay without having significantly changed student-teacher ratios. Having better-paid but fewer teachers could also save us an enormous amount on pension and health benefits, which have risen far more than salaries in cost per teacher over the past four decades.
photo via flickr:CC | mpancha
13 Ounces or Less, a group on Flickr.I love the idea of mailing items of unusual shapes and sizes!