Waiting for Superman is a GREAT movie. But something should be added!! While waiting and working for super schools with super teachers, we can do this immediately: show every kid how to learn everything known by humankind through the device they already have.
I saw Waiting for Superman this afternoon for the first time. In thinking about it afterward, I realized I could remember no mobile devices being used by any of the kids. This is both archaic and inaccurate. I can remember way back in 1999 being at a mentor meeting attended by a dozen students from New York City public high schools. We were sitting around a conference table at a business office in Manhattan. Just out of curiosity, I asked them how many were carrying cellphones. They ALL had them, and that was twelve years ago.
It is uncertain that very many more American students are truly going to have the great schools and teachers the movie longs for. It is very certain that essentially every school-age American will carry a Web browsing mobile device — and probably already are. While we are working for the great schools with great teachers, why not also work to show youngsters how to handschool themselves.
I knew a brilliant black woman from New York City who had a Ph.D from Columbia University. She gave up her other careers to work as a first grade teacher in one of the worst schools in Harlem. She explained to me: “If I can get them at that age and teach them to read, they will be okay.”
We should do all the things suggested and implied in Waiting for Superman. We should do one more thing: Teach individual students how to learn everything known through the mobile Web. That is another way to help them to be okay.
UPDATE: This Handschooling post from a year ago gives more on how learning can be done with individual devices:
Ignoring intertwingularity was education’s shark jump