Monday, December 03, 2007

a conversation with Mark Pesce about Rudd's "education revolution"

Brace for a steep re-learning curve by Mark Pesce (The Age, December 2)
"If we simply drop laptops into the schools and hope it all works out, we're in for a big disappointment"
I thought this contained a good analysis of the difficulties faced by teachers and the problem of the mandated curriculum with respect to the Rudd / Gillard "education revolution"

However I question this assertion at the end:
This initiative seems to raise more questions than answers, and that, I believe, is Mr Rudd's intent. He wants to connect the classroom to the world beyond and laptops are his trojan horse. Once they're in the door, there's no choice but for a curriculum rethink and for teachers to re-train. That can only result in a real education revolution
This seemed to be more of a belief statement and not supported by any evidence

Mark Pesce's blog address was at the end of the article so I left a comment there and this has turned into a dialogue between us. See the comments after his long Hyperpolitics article. It's a good discussion.

I'm going to have to read his long article now to understand his position more deeply.


Tony Forster said...

more on this on the 730 report, tuesday 4 dec

Bill Kerr said...

Thanks Tony, I just watched the 7 30 report then. Mark Pesce's voice was prominent in there as well and made some good points.

Julia Gillard said the roll out will occur in the first half of next year. This means that most Schools won't have time to do any deep thinking and will tend to take on board the extra computers without contemplating any major shifts in their current direction, whatever that is. My guess is that most government schools won't go for the take home laptop option (it is their choice) because it is riskier, has more management difficulties, is more expensive than having computers "safely" in labs etc.

Do Rudd and Gillard understand what they are doing? I don't see any evidence that they do.

Will some schools be able to use this to release the full potential of computers? That is a possibility but it would require some enlightened leadership of a type that is quite rare on the ground.

Tony Forster said...

"Do Rudd and Gillard understand what they are doing? "

At any depth, probably not. They have too much that they have to understand with all the other aspects of government. The interesting question is who is advising them, what do they understand and what are their beliefs?

Gary said...

Not only is Pesce's hypothesis faith-based, the reality is even more disturbing.

Many Australian schools experienced a renaissance of learning when laptops arrived in the early 1990s. Teachers saw through the eyes of their kids what was possible. Previously unsuccessful kids came alive. Children learned previously inaccessible concepts in ways that were unimaginable just a few years before. Teachers engaged in profound discussions about the nature of teaching and learning. Professionalism was elevated and passion for teaching and learning was infectious. Curriculum, assessment, schedule and even architecture changed slightly to support the innovations experienced firsthand.

Then the adults got tired or realized that they could merely change the blazer color and announce that their school was better than the virtually identical one down the street. Then all of the possibilities seen in their own classrooms were abandoned.

It was an inexcusable tragedy. I'm too much of a gentleman to name names.