I had dinner last night with Ann Flynn, Director of Education Technology at the National School Boards Association, and her staff, Colleen O’Brien and Jason Assir. Joining us was Ken Kay, President of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Ken and I will be keynoting the TLN Executive Briefing today.
Later in the afternoon, we’ll be hearing from a group of middle school children about the things that they care about and the kind of education the wish they were receiving. I hope that I can podcast that exchange. There will also be a culminating discussion of the board members and superintendents who are in attendance, and Apple will be podcasting that exchange.
The registration for this event is low, and there are probably several contributing factors. It would be unfair to say that there is a lack of interest in technology, among school board members. But generally speaking, the discussions last night were not all together optimistic about the prospects for modernizing classrooms in the near future. Added to this, I learned this morning that the 1:1 initiative in Illinois is no longer on a firm foundation because of a lack of funding and politics. I hope that it pulls through.
Since I’m sitting here in Chicago (gangsterland), looking onto the Chicago river from my hotel room, I can’t help but imagine a school student, sitting in her seat, and blandly listening to a lecture being recited monotonously by her teacher, who looks remarkably like George Bush — and the student’s feet are resting in a bucket. Small men and women are silently pouring wet cement into the bucket, snickering at each other, and whispering to the child, “It isn’t personal, honey. It’s business!” I can’t quite get to the point where they lower the child into the river, because I think there is still time. But not much!