This education “big-thinker” never mentions the internet in this nine-minute talk on “Becoming Internationally Competitive.” If you want to spend the time to watch this video, ask yourself as you do whether it is about the 1980s or 1950s or even earlier. The are almost no clues that the internet exists. The students and teachers use pencils, pads, and printed workbooks to write by hand. A botany class uses printed images of leaves — when they could, for example, be learning something new each day from the Botany Photo of the Day.
The students we see in the video are from excelling schools in countries where students average far better on tests than do students from USA public schools. Kids are shown from Finland, whose education ranks highest by the video’s standards. Finland is tech-drenched; it is the home of Nokia. In Finland 79% of the population use the internet and each of the 5.5 million people has a legal right to a one-megabit broadband connection. It is almost certain that every Finnish student in the video owns a smartphone that browses the internet and would beautifully display the Botany Photo of the Day. Yet in the video we only briefly see a student using a handheld calculator and one quick look at a classroom with 1990s era desktop computers on tables.
The big-thinker narrator laments, after showing scenes from schools in other countries, that USA schools are inferior. She says at one point that in our “low income schools science is barely taught.” She concludes the video with a discussion of common course standards — and saying that the federal government is organizing itself to fund new assessments that will be tied to the common course standards. She says that the federal role will be to design an approach that is more internationally comparable.
OKAY, this is oversimplified, but: Why not provide kids in whatever are our “low income schools” with smartphones so they can learn about nature from Botany Photo of the Day and the comprehensive natural sciences openly available online – like these samples for botany?
And what possible clue is there in the video to how the “low income schools” in the USA — and all the kids around the world NOT in the superior countries — could ever have deep knowledge experience like the narrator touts. A great start is handschooling where deep knowledge awaits online.