Stager Nails It

Flickr Photo – by ViaMoi

NPR calls him an education “technology leading light.” Some who know Gary Stager might rather call him an education “bold of lightning,” inspiring some and irritating others. Regardless, what ever Gary says, we listen to it — and National Public Radio (NPR) was listening yesterday.

The issue was India’s recently announced $35 Tablet for Education, and NPR heard it when Gary tweeted…

Newsflash: India invents schools so its children have a place to store their useless “$35 laptops.” #vaporware ((??Stager, Gary. 24 Jul 2010. Online Posting to Twitter. Web. 29 Jul 2010.))

Contacting him as a source for his story (A $35 Tablet For Education? Cost Isn’t The Only Factor To Consider)?, NPR contributor, Wright Bryan, asked Gary to expand on the tweet. I’ll let you read what he said in the article, which is pretty much what his readers would expect when a fully charged Gary Stager faces any initiative that short-changes learning for the sake of being able to say, “Look how we’re advancing education so cheaply.”

I want to point you to a part of his statement that really nailed it for me. This short paragraph shows why Gary is so much more of a contributor on Twitter than I am — he can put in a few striking words a quality of ideas that expand my own thinking regarding topics that take me an hour to express on a stage.

He says that a computer,

..especially if it’s the only one we can be sure they (students in India) have access to, must be capable of making the poems, musical compositions, movies, radio programs, simulations, video games, scientific breakthroughs and acts of civic participation that we know children are able to create with the right software, support, time and high expectations. ((?Bryan, Wright. “A $35 Tablet For Education? Cost Isn’t The Only Factor To Consider.” All Tech Considered 28 Jul 2010: n. pag. Web. 29 Jul 2010. .))

Boom!

Learning is Work!

..because, today, Work is Learning!

In case you are not reading the comments, last night Gary Stager provided this link to an open letter from Nicholas Negroponte (the visionary behind the the One Laptop Per Child) project.  It was sent to the Times of India.  You can read the text here.

Such a Punch…

Cropped from a Flickr Image by Fiona Grant

My last blog post just just shy of 1000 words. Vera B. Hoyle (my senior English teachers) would be proud. But in this day and time of being overwhelmed by information, it’s the short statement that counts.

Gary Stager and I can quibble about a trillionth here and a trillionth there, but he certainly packs a punch and says what’s true in this comment posted on a recent blogging by Will Richardson.

If a human is breathing, he is a “true learner.”

School teaches at best a trillionth of the knowledge available on the planet yet we quibble endlessly over which trillionth of a percent is most important. (short answer – the most trivial and less useful least useful)

Who cares?

If teaching was an actual profession, all curriculum and assessment issues would be resolved internally within that profession, not imposed by committees of anonymous (and amateur) bureaucrats.

What is the “true lesson” of education for students when they see their teachers routinely trampled and become increasingly helpless?

This obsession with measurement of human achievement IN ALL OF ITS FORMS is a form of arrogance at best and psychosis at worst.

No more to be said, but thanks, Gary…

Added later: Also passed along from Gary — http://bit.ly/b93AVh

I Recommend This

I’m going to get here one day, Gary Stager’s Constructing Modern Knowledge event. Sylvia Martinez included in her tinkering session at Educon this year, some video clips of teachers working (minds-on) at last year’s event. It was a tinkering session where teachers were building something from various objects they had access to, and exploring the thought processes taking place along the way.

This year guest speakers will include: Deborah Meier, James Loewen, Peter Reynolds and Alfie Kohn. You can register here and then block off July 12-15 on your calendar to be in Manchester, New Hampshire for Constructing Modern Knowledge.

I wonder if Gary would allow me to attend just the first day and the last day?