Monday, September 01, 2008


The new reality is that the public-education system is no longer the only, or the paramount, place where we go to learn.

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by James Daly

For more than 150 years, the local public schools were our community's temple of knowledge. They dutifully gathered, assimilated, and dispensed the wisdom of thousands of years of insight and learning to the eager (and sometimes not-so-eager) ears and eyes of fidgeting youth. Once you left the school's care, however, as a young adult, you were pretty much on your own to track down the information and wisdom that would lead to a more enriched mind or pocketbook.
Then something dramatic happened. In 1989, researcher Tim Berners-Lee was noodling around in his Swiss lab, working on a way for his colleagues to share ideas electronically on different networks using an odd jumble of computers. He came up with an online knowledge-sharing device: the World Wide Web. By the mid-1990s, new Web browsers produced by companies such as Netscape and Microsoft made sailing through the sea of online information simple; Berners-Lee had inadvertently kicked open a door to the world's knowledge.
T hen came the crackling summer of 1995. While a staggering heat wave scorched the country -- New York City had a record-setting streak of twenty-four consecutive days with no precipitation, while out in the Great Plains, a freight train derailed when the tracks warped in 112-degree heat -- Netscape planned something even hotter: It went public. When that offering happened on August 9, the company's stock and its fortunes skyrocketed. Where there is money to be made (and Netscape was making billions), inventiveness and ambition followed.
The rest of the story, writ in large neon letters, has been a redistribution of knowledge that has essentially turned our world upside down and inside out (or is it the other way around?). In the past decade, the easy access to nearly any piece of information imaginable has become an expected part of our daily life. We've been Googled and YouTubed and iPodded so completely that the names of these very companies have seared into our cerebral cortex, even becoming verbs ("Did you google it?") in our daily chatter.
What happened with our schools? Not much. They continued to plod on gamely, passing out paper-based textbook after paper-based textbook, keeping their rooms and halls nearly free of the technology saturating their students' lives. The public-education system was a modern-day Rip Van Winkle, dozing peacefully beneath its educational elm while the distance increased between the technology that schools provided and the daily reality of the world students live in.
Subtly, but inexorably, schools -- or, for that matter, libraries -- were no longer the key holders to the temple of knowledge. A millennia-old arrangement of information distribution disappeared in the time it took for a newborn to reach fifth grade.
The new reality is that the public-education system is no longer the only, or the paramount, place where we go to learn. Most likely, the average child did his or her first Google search on a home computer. For many kids, they probably first logged on to a network (most likely AOL or Yahoo!) remotely, using a portable PC a parent brought home from the office. Their first online chat was more likely to happen at home while the child was enjoying Club Penguin than it was in English class.
This shift represents a fundamental restructuring of what public education is all about. Schools must now jump into the river of information provided by business, international groups, and the media and step into a new role: assembler of the collective intellect. Educators must help students sort out the insightful from the ludicrous, assisting them in their new role as capable and critical thinkers. Schools should not shun the seemingly endless variety of outside information sources, but should instead see them as new sources of inspiration for their daily lessons.
In an age when the flow of information was limited and controlled, schools were worthy gatherers of knowledge. That world is gone. Public education has entered a new phase, and it's time for it to catch up to the students it's charged with teaching.

Editor in Chief James Daly

This article was also published in Edutopia Magazine, July 2007


M. Frank said...

The article read in class today was a very well written article and provided a very honest outlook into the public education systems we are exposed to today. Arguments can be made for both sides, on whether advancements in technology can enhance or downgrade the effects of the public education system.
I believe that part of the reason why so little of the new available technology is being incorporated into our school systems, is that those running the board of educations in our country are from a previous generation. During this generation, a very rigid and basic process for education was created and used nationally. This system certainly did not fail and was a very well thought out and successful model for education administrators and reformers for years to come.
In 1995, the invention and popularization of the internet, as described by author James Daly in the paragraphs two and three, had a newfound affect on the youth of America. Other creations like video games and cable television, changed the interests and priorities of students. As other industries and branches of society began to adapt to our technological world, education remained the same and provided little reform. I believe this is because those running our school systems, are simply too stubborn or too confident with the strategies of the present and past. They may have been successful at one point and consistent until now, but its time to get with the program. There are lots of young intelligent minds up and coming in the area of education reform. But there needs to be more awareness and attention paid to the topic. Politicians should listen to young education reformists and encourage their ideas. Have the technologies of today and the future incorporated now.
We have come to a disappointing time in our country’s history, where the winner of American Idol or America’s Next Top Model is more popular and prominent in the lives of our youth than the Governor of their state, or even the President. Push the Xbox and the Wii to the side and focus more on teaching politics in school and let kids learn about the world around them. Teach them about the stock market and encourage them that if they work there one day, they could drive that cool car in the commercial or buy that big house on MTV.
All this can start by moving forward to a new generation. Don’t forget the old ones, and the foundation for the education systems we have today. I am a counselor at a summer camp and I can’t help but notice how mesmerized my campers get by the sight of a simple screen. Be it a phone, computer, ipod or TV, nothing gets their attention like a small rectangle of lights and nanotechnology. The same lessons that have been boring our technology starved children for years, can be utilized with new technology to help them learn more efficiently.
Now some of you may be thinking: where would the money for this overhaul come from? The answer is the taxpayers of course! But there are few things more important than the competent education of our youth. Most of America pays more in car insurance prices than they do in taxes that go toward educational reform. It’s time to squeeze the intelligence of future generations into our budget.
I think I can talk all day about this, but I’ll stop now so there’s room for everyone.
-M. Frank

t alexander said...

l agree with rochelle because in india it's way different than here. We can decide what we want to be in high school.In india 11th and 12th grade called plus one and plus two.We have to take every subjects and decide which fields we going to study.Although, the education varies from country to country; all the educational institutions share a common goal which is to enlighten our global community and to ensure mankind's future prosperity. As the article states,"the flow of information was limited and controlled, schools were worthy gatherers of knowledge". The aforementioned sentence thus supports the point that education establishes a strong foundation our society.

H.Sugrim said...

I agree with Rajvir when she said that public schools " train you for real life". Everyone knows what the real world is like already so I believe that high schools are suppose to help you get ready for the real world. Ofcourse they help you get the intelligence to be successful but they also help you out with something bigger than that.

apeksha said...

I thought that today's article was very interesting. I think that it’s true that we aren't in reality being prepared for the "real life". I think it is important for schools to teach us what actually really matters. As I said in class earlier, I do think that our school is definitely more advanced compared to other schools, because we have diversity. We have all type of students with different cultures, disabilities and learning levels. I think that our school has an advantage that we learn in groups because of the reason that when we’re older and when we have jobs and etc. working as a team is very important.

-A Vora

R Panicker said...

In today's lesson we had a very different topic discussed. It was about how students are getting their information outside of school. Today in class discussion Rajvir said "Schools are meant to be training for the real world." When she said this I agreed but also I disagreed. I agree with her quote because schools are meant for training you and trying to make you independent. I also disagree with this quote because not all occupations require you to take classes that prepare you for real life. An example would be a person going into the Business field doesn't have to take a Science class.

- R Panicker

A. Rao said...

I noticed that some people saying that public schools are just babysitting kids these days.
They are missing the point. School's don't know your ambitions for life and can't be expected to teach every single student on what they hope to achieve on a limited budget.
School's are supposed to teach you the basics of life, not the workings of the Central Nervous System or how to write an op-ed piece for the times.

I also heard someone say that they learned more out of school than in school. I'd like to ask them where they learned how to read, write and do basic math.

Jray Vicencio said...

"I feel as if this article explains the difference between the real world or schools. I feel as if that they explained how society has grown into a high tech environment while the school system is still behind and back in the past. As someone had said in class, the classes we learn that the government think is essential to us have no correlation to what we have to deal with out there. I think that due to this article it should have open people's eyes and said to me that the school systems needs to modern up and not go with the old school learning system. As the teacher said its kind of like an assembly line where you just go on and on and when you leave school your expected to be like everyone else. But in this big world we live in we need to be individuals and learn to be as successful as we can be."

-Jray Vicencio

j.canales said...

I think everyone remembers what Rajvir had said about school training you for real life.I don't really agree with that because if they did we could learn what we wanted instead of bieng forced to learn subjects that we have no interests for.Schools relly need to step up and realize that we're in a different era and that technology keeps getting better and better and instead of fighting we should embrace it.

U. Cheema said...

I was going to bring up the same point Matt Frank did about effects of technology in the class room and employers of the education boards in each state are using older education philosophies that don't suit this generation anymore.

The public education system of the U.S. is lagging behind with the rest of the world. According to "Is America Falling off the Flat Earth?" by Norman R. Augustine The U.S. ranks 17th in the world in high school graduation rates and 14th in college graduation. Isn't America suppose to be the best country especially in matters regarding education ?Most of the youth is spending more time watching TV and on other forms of technology that attracts them.

The funding for our schools is being cut. As a result the technology in the schools remain the same and seems like the government doesn't value education by using the budget as an excuse. Look at the computers in the classrooms they're old. Isn't it time to get new ones as well as uprgade the public education system as a whole?

E. Rosenberg said...

This was a very interesting article. Today in class Rajvir said "school trains you for the real word", I disagree and agree with her statement. I do agree with it because she said it trains you.It trains you by giving you knowledge and to expand some ideas to a certian limit.On the other hand i disagree because school doesn't really train you for the "real world". School, in my oppion focuses mainly on basic learning. The school system did not really evolve. People today use mainly portable devices and their computers to find answers to many questions.

crystal marie said...

Todays class was interesting, I'm not use to sitting in a class and talking about things so open and freely. Highschool is supposed to prepare you for this "real world" that we'll be stepping into soon but I honestly feel it isn't because we take all these different classes that teach extra stuff that I can't see myself usen in my everyday life. Example the different math classes we take , if you know the basics addition subtraction mulitplication division what more math do you need like when am I going to look at a circle and say well this is 360 and half of this will be 180 . Our school is very different from other schools with the small learning communities were able to know eachother as friends and that's good but in this "real world" were not always going to know everyone.I personally believe that I learn more out of school than I do in school. Yes I give credit to the teachers for teaching me how to read and write but now you can learn that at home , most kids are taught their abc's and numbers at home . Change should be made in education system , introduce us to this scary "real world".


K. Weston said...

The article that was read in class today was very interesting. The article stated that schools now have changed because of the advance in information sharing systems. In the pass, to get your information one had to go to a local public school. Since that time information sharing is done via electronic device, for example the internet. The internet allows you to gather a lot of sources on a topic. In schools the internet can broaden your horizon and this in the long run can help a student to engage in conversations, which can be helpful in ones future. J. Ray stated “High school is just to get you into college.” I believe that this quote can be argued in two different ways. This is partially true, how ever high school provides a knowledge base that can be used in society if you do not go to college.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the comments that claim we aren’t being prepared for “real life”. I believe we are. We can’t expect to leave high school wired to take anything life throws at us. I agree with a point made earlier stating that schools don’t know the ambitions of every child in the system and they can’t accommodate everyone. Public schools teach us the basic skills and concepts needed to pursue careers. What we’re learning is just square one.

-N. Budhu

L. molina said...

In today's class discussion Rajvir made a good point saying that school is a way for us to get trained to go out in the real world. This is because in school we have all learned our basic topics. That even without us realizing when we're using them all the skills we have learned in school are being used in our everyday life. I also feel that some of the classes that we take in school really don't have anything to do with what we want to be and in my point of view we shouldn't have to take them. Though even with these extra classes I still believe that school is one of the important steps that we should follow for our future.

n. demetrius said...

The school system now works for basic things that we use everyday, as said above. I'm an active computer user, and I always tend to read a lot of things online. Schools should definitely modern up and use what could be offered to them. With technology being more incooperated into schools, education would improve. Times have changed, its time to use whats being offered.

V.Dhanassar said...

The article that was read and discussed in class today was something to think about and take seriously. It tells you that the education system is not as advanced as it is supposed to be. School is basically teaching you the main points. Math, science, English, and history. What is necessary to be ready for the "real" outside world is classes which teach us to grow. Yes growing our minds education wise is needed, but a high grade point student cannot go into the work field and come out successful. Our school is beginning to advance. We as a school is advanced than other school, but the question is are we more advanced than the standard school format? I personally learned myself that life is about networking. School doesn't teach you to network. That's where I feel as if we are some what advanced, where our school is about group work. If you have a group, you have a small network. The article seems to base technology as the main problem of school systems and learning. My point of view is technology is the only thing that is seen to blame. Schools won't blame themselves for not advancing after so many years. Technology drastically changes everyday. Mite as well blame the change.

Anonymous said...

The article we discussed in today’s class was very controversial. I believe that schools should be encouraging the use of the internet. They should be teaching kids in school that you can’t believe everything that you read online. They should use the internet to show children how to determine the difference between fact and fiction.

In class I talked about the mixed ability classes that we have in our school. Not to be mean, but I think that the more advanced students are being held back because they have to help the other students in their class. This keeps them from challenging themselves. I’m not saying that we should be separated but we need to advance in our education too. As an example, last year my math class was about a month behind the other classes. The smarter students in the class couldn’t move on and now what is review for the other classes, my class hasn’t even learned yet. In the real world you have to think on your own as well. You can’t always depend on someone else to do your work for you.

I noticed that everyone was commenting on Rajvirs comment, “Schools are intended to train us for the real world.” I think that when you really look at it, school is completely different from the “real world”. We are told what to do by our teachers. In the real world we aren’t told what to do or given guild lines to becoming successful. Schools should be teaching us about independent living and helping us select majors. Times have changed and our education system should be following suite.

- Sanaa A.

A. Rao said...

To the people that say the things learned in class don't matter:
That's not the point. Public school teaches you how to act in real life. QHST only has a budget of $7,406,916 for the '08-'09 school year. According to the available statistics, QHST spends $12,788 per Gen. Ed. students, while $101,722 are spent on the Special Ed students.

With that kind of money, the school can't be expected to accommodate one student that wants to be in show business and another student that wants to be a doctor.
Everyone that says they don't need to learn the stuff they are learning have no real concept of money.

C. JONES III said...

I agree with Sanaa, for the schools not to include the world wide web in todays education isn't really preparing us students for the real world. In my own opinion i think school is useful up to a certain point, I feel like its what i learn outside and experience my self that really gets me really for what life has in store for me.

K Singh said...

Today's article made me think a lot aobut how schools and the real world are so different. This article made me realize that you need to work very hard in school but also you must know how to face the reailty of the real world. We had many discussions in class today about how the world is getting more advanced and the schools are still using the teaching methods for more the 50 years ago. I believe that the schools should start using more and more technology because in the real world were not using methods from 50 years ago were using more advance technology, and i think we should do the same in schools so we can get a lot more familiar with the real world.

Gitu K. said...

I agreed with the article that we read today in class and i agreed on what rajvir said that we should be open to the real world. As the world is getting bigger, new things are discovered to live a better way of life. Currently in the public schools we are in they arent teaching us the real outside experience that we should know. Schools are suppsoed to prepare you for the outside world. Learning subjects we dont need its not going to get us anywere in life.

I also agree on the part that we learn more outside then inside because letting yourself in the outside world will give you an experience that you might need later in life. Schools should train us for whats going to happen next; not the history of what already happened. Its a new world we should be open to learning about it.

Gitu K.

R. Kaur said...

Today’s article was very interesting. I enjoyed being able to talk freely with my opinions regarding our school systems. Yes I agree my statement “schools are supposed to train you for the real life” has it’s pros and cons. The school system is indeed supposed to train you for real life in a sense that makes you aware of what opportunities are available for us out there. As crystal had wrote
“Example the different math classes we take , if you know the basics addition subtraction multiplication division what more math do you need like when am I going to look at a circle and say well this is 360 and half of this will be 180 .” yes crystal I agree that we need the basic math in order for us to buy things in our life and know how to deal with money. But if you think of it, this can create an opportunity for a career to someone that can be very interesting in math. School is supposed to help us, guide us to know what we can achieve out there. As generations have passed by the school system have remained the same, but there has been little changes along the way. As these changes occur we do not see the difference until we look back to where it had all begun. I believe that from 150 years ago our school systems have advanced, but I also believe that the school system has not advanced to the level of what is already offered to us outside of school at home with all the technology. I think the one thing that is keeping the schools from advancing to another level is the negativity. All the teachers believe if a student is to be sitting quietly with a electronic device that has internet they are defiantly doing something bad. Yes at times a student can be misusing it but that does not mean that every student is. If they were to give students a chance to be able to use our technology the school system can advance to a whole other level.

Alex D. said...

The article today in gov. class was very interesting but I disagree on Rajiv quote .Today school in the united states doesn't help you in getting a job anymore because of the simple fact that there isn’t a lot of jobs out there and even if u went to school and got your masters degree doesn’t mean that you’ll get a job because there’s millions of people with the same .plus high school is really short and doesn’t give a student the chance to have a taste of the different opportunities we have . Most student graduate college with a degree and still don’t know what they want .For example Rochelle stated that in India they give you business class before you go to school .I think if young student interacted more with college subjects .They rate of undecided student would go down and it would help improve our economy.
I also believe that technology in our classes are extremely cheap and useless because our computers in our school are destroyed or just aren’t up-to-date . Sadly our government doesn’t believe that they should spend money on the future of there students and teacher futures . In France the government pays for there student to go to college .
Wonder way the united states of America cant do that .

A. Deonarine

A. Pervaiz said...

After hearing all of the discussions made in class and overviewing the reading, I agree to what A.Rao had said that "schools don't know your ambitions for life, Schools teach you the general knowledge that you carry on further in your life". The knowledge that we earn from school some what guides us to our ambition. There are many different career's out their, and if we wanted Schools to teach them, what can make the person itself believe that they will become what they studied for in school. I do believe that it would be easier for us to choose a career, but we have to think both ways, we can't always look ahead at one way.


M.Browne said...

i agree wit m.frank he said that maybe some of the technology that we have today isnt put in to the school because the people running the people running the board are from a diffrent generatiom they are used to having the school the old fashion way.
i think its good to have the new technology in school because it gets you prepaired for our future , but it is also good to pick up a text book and look up some more information from a different aspect

M. Barnett said...

This article about introducing technology into schools is not a bad idea, but to me school is a valuable aspect to ones life. School is a stepping stone to the rest of your life. Everyone doesnt always take the same path, but being instilled with good knowledge empowers us to be confident. Confident in any job that we want to pursue in life. I agree the school teaches you somethings you dont need in life, but it sets you up for college. College is the place were you can decide your own classes, career, and a clear path to your true passion in life.
Everyone doesn't understand technology as clearly as others, so useing technology in school can also leave people behind. Not all kinds of technology can help students learn everyone is different, so everyone should be able to decide how they would like to learn after a certain grade. This way u can introduce both sides of the table, and everyone can be able to benefit from the changes.

a.potter said...

I disagree with Rajvir when she said that school trains you for real life. I think school just gets you ready for the next level. Elementary school gets you ready for Jr.High, Jr.High gets you ready for High school and high school gets you ready for college. Technology is needed in schools. I agree with Matt Frank because the future depends on the past. Whatever happens in the past affects what happens now.