Friday, September 18, 2009

The Printed Book -- What is Tangible and What is Changeable

While I am sitting here at the Boston Public Library on Copley Square, trying to decompress after a morning and afternoon of interviews, it left me happy to see that Surabhi Dewra, a young entrepreneur from India, was also online.

The experience of being able to instantly reach out to someone on another continent, thousands of miles away, and discuss the same subject from the same points of view got me to thinking about my newest theory.

Perhaps it is not that new. In fact, it is somewhat inspired by Buddhism, and the idea that reality is an illusion. Let me refine this perspective.

Clearly there is something tangible about the world, but the momentary existence of the world offers much opportunity in the way of learning and it speaks to the general mission of the education industry.

When individuals connect, and when they exchange views, they bring into that momentary awareness of what is happening a new idea, or a fresh description of the conscious elements of the world.

this is what teaching is, and this is what is kind of problematic about standards.

boiled down:

Standards are created by the same people who, like me and anyone else I am talking about, come together, and set to root an idea about what that standard is.

In essence, they "freeze" a certain standard level, and what troubles me about this is that they leave out the opportunity for new views.

If teaching is an open space, devoid of what is real, and we inject our views into that space, forming what is to be learned by our exchange of views, then aren't we compromising chances to add to that learning in a model where review of materials or the insertion of new tools for learning only happens once a year?

What happens when budget concerns keep one model in play while not allowing another model to form?

When will it be possible for students and teachers to have just as much of a say in a real time application of editing of subject material, as they learn new things?

I can tell you that as a former teacher, sometimes the textbooks were wrong. Especially in English literature or history. we would read as a class a specific piece of information and come to a consensus that, in fact, we didn't believe that material to be right.

How can we change it? We cannot. That is the textbook. That is the printed matter.

Hope I am not getting too philosophical, but it remains to be seen, will budgetary pressures in some of the largest school districts and states in the country force a change in the delivery of publications to students, teachers, or organizations like schools?

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