ה-Education Innovation Summit היא התכנסות של רבים מהמי ומי של מה שאפשר לכנות "תעשיית החינוך". בין המשתתפים היו גם אנשי חינוך מן השורה, אבל עיון ברשימת נותני החסות לכנס (ששמותיהם מופיעים בגדול בדף הראשי של אתר הכנס) מבהיר, אם היו בכך ספקות, שלא החינוך, אלא הכסף, היה הגורם הקובע ברשימת המשתתפים. ג'ורג' סימנס, שהיה בין אנשי החינוך בכנס, אפיין את המשתתפים שהוא פגש שם בשני משפטים די מצמררים:
These people remake education. And they will do it on the principles of competition and markets.
If a good teacher is one that prepares learners to succeed on standardized tests, then we’re in trouble. I encountered this odd conflict numerous times in the conference: on the one hand, the need for innovative and creative learners is promoted…but on the other hand, the metrics of reward in the system promote normalization. This isn’t a small contradiction – it’s a foundational flaw in the vision being promoted by advocates for policy change.
As for me, I honestly don’t know how to respond to the Tweets from the Education Innovation Summit other than sit here with my mouth agape, with a knot in my stomach, with my fists clenched, shaking with fury. I've hardly been able to think or write all week. Ah, artists. How fragile and useless we are.
Fenty actually said, "If we fire more teachers, we can use that money for more technology." Wow.
This is what scares me – those who do not believe in schools will use edu-tech-speak to dismantle the things we hold most dear.
Jeb Bush has said: a) he does not read edu research. b) he does not care about anything that is not a test score. Problematic.
Jeb Bush's vision for edu is based on the notion that we all end up compliant to our bosses, not that our kids become citizens.
I really only have one point of advice for educators: become informed about the startup and the corporate activity in education. The language of innovation at the summit was firmly rooted in capital. I’ve already stated that I find much appealing about entrepreneurship (i.e. startup, not large corporations). But even then, the money-focus of innovation was jarring. Students were rarely mentioned (some of the startups on the showdown did a good job of this, however). Teachers and educators were most often referred to negatively. This myopic focus on capital and innovation is disconcerting.
The concepts that I use to orient myself and validate my actions were non-existent on summit panels: research, learner-focus, teacher skills, social pedagogy, learner-autonomy, creativity, integration of social and technical system, and complexity and network theory. Summit attendees are building something that will impact education. I’m worried that this something may be damaging to learners and society while rewarding for investors and entrepreneurs.
Educators – if you don't see that there is a billion dollar industry wanting to take over schools using tech as the Trojan Horse, wake up.