21st Century Education

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

A list of responses to Time’s recent headliner:

The way we teach kids has not changed very much over the years. Yet all around our schools, society has changed in astounding ways. We are able to put humans into space, and yet, students in America’s urban schools couldn’t explain how a vehicle put into space is able to orbit the earth. The curriculum of our schools is designed to keep kids thinking inside the box, and discourage innovative thinking. Yet, there are currently calls for finding ways to bring our schools out of the 20th century. Time Magazine’s lead article this week addressed this issue.

The Art of Teaching Science

To me “powerpointlessness” is something that died a long time ago that is just an annoying tool that adults use to bore audiences to tears. First graders using tools on the internet is great but what about some of the old school logo type programming. I just don’t understand why a child putting a PowerPoint presentation together is so exciting. If a first grader programmed a logo turtle to move through an obstacle course then I would be very impressed!!

21st Century Educator

Trained and experienced educators run the schools. But perhaps more than anything else, education in the 21st century is about conversations, and our schools must operate within conversations between classrooms and homes, schools and communities, and lots of potent, two-way conversations between students and their learning experiences.

Most of the rest of the story includes some inspiring examples of schools that are moving to the edge of the wave. But what they make me wonder is if all schools might become charter schools. Each school is free to reshape itself within the context of a dynamic curriculum that reflects today and tomorrow, but incorporating local needs, local opportunities, and a desperate need to make schools powerful engines for improving neighborhoods, villages, cities and the world.

2 Cents Worth

At the moment we’re being pressed with lots of “reports” about the state of American education and education in Connecticut. Here’s an example. And the soon to come assessment by NCEE. I hope people keep in mind that global engagement is hypertextual. What do we mean by globalist thinking and internationalism? What will we mean by technology and literacy?


11 responses to “21st Century Education”

  1. Josh says:

    In terms of current public American education:

    “globalist thinking” = America must eternally pay for our role in slavery and our “stealing” from the Native American peoples; America is an Empire-builder; America is an international bigot; American capitalism is the root of the “World Problem”; America is the World’s true enemy

    “internationalism” = America must submit to the United Nations and cease to stand out; unilateralism under any circumstance is taboo

    American Education in the public sector will only recuperate when the liberalism that permeates it gives way to allow for the free exchange of ideas. In other words, allow the teaching of “intelligent design” alongside the theory of evolution.. put a variety of literature back into the public classroom (just about everything I had to read was feminist or focused on the “plight of the lower class” and just about all of it took place from the late-19th century to pre-WWII).. teach the American (and World) historical on its own merits and shortcomings and without commentary (for instance, teach the FULL history of the Plymouth colony and of Thanksgiving).. teach global warming, but as the theory it still is.. and so on.

  2. Steve says:

    But we are bigots. Most people are.

    You don’t mean liberalism, you mean sound, evidence-based science.

  3. Josh says:

    I mean liberalism, because it is what is defining “sound, evidence-based science” for the public schools.

    For example, I’m not talking about teaching the Book of Genesis. For every scientific point made by an evolutionist, a scientific counter-point can be made by a creationist–and vice versa, which means it is a scientific debate.

  4. Steve says:

    Josh,

    You write: “For every scientific point made by an evolutionist, a scientific counter-point can be made by a creationist–and vice versa, which means it is a scientific debate.” Supply an example.

    There are plenty of counterpoints within science, such as the extent to which climate can be simulated effectively or the reasons for declining animal populations and the causes underlying the little ice age. I don’t see how a creationist could have a scientific viewpoint about genesis. Is this what you mean?

  5. Josh says:

    Here is an example of the creationist counter-point that order cannot come from disorder (or that the complex cannot naturally descend from the simplistic).

    http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=9128

    “I don’t see how a creationist could have a scientific viewpoint about genesis.”

    I feel the same about an evolutionist :-) Since at some point, even an evolutionist must admit that for intelligent and complex life to happen, certain laws of nature must be broken at least once. But, of course, it is unscientific to allow anything so outside of “sound, evidence-based science” (aka “supernatural”).. and so “accepted science” continues to run around in a maze of its own making.

    Darwinism (or “modern science”) is the atheistic man’s coup against God. Life becomes a lot easier if “God” is Man and not God, doesn’t it?

    Science is God’s test of Man’s vanity.

  6. Steve says:

    Josh,

    Your’s and Sewell’s argument are scientifically baseless. Sewell’s article, in fact, I would judge as shameful: his claim about the physical forces simplifies EB tremendously. In your knowledge, what does the 2nd law of thermodynamics have to say about open systems or very small systems? What about adiobolic measures or the behavior of ferromagnetic meterials? There are plenty of studies out there that empirically demonstrate the functions of evo theory, such as Orr’s Speciation.

    You write: “Darwinism (or “modern science”) is the atheistic man’s coup against God.”

    Number 1: Modern science is not “Darwinism.” What about Francis Bacon? It’s not a coup: its a way of thinking and lots of discoveries.

    Number 2: Sometimes science is just science. Why does the quality or essence of your faith or ethic depend upon the practice of scientists? It seems to me that ID promoters are arguing with the wrong people.

    So much for Sewell. Anything else?

  7. Josh says:

    To err is Human, so the findings or non-findings of science doesn’t affect my faith or ethics one way or the other.

    What does bother me is how the insecurities of liberalism and atheism are allowed to permeate Science so deep so as to not allow for balanced public education. Part of this is to make theories such as evolution and global warming appear so dominant and overwhelming to the public that they are perceived as fact.

    The other part is the quickness with which creationism is always brushed aside as “baseless”. This I find amusing since the American Association for the Advancement of Science calling creationism baseless is like the Vatican calling evolution baseless. Duh!

    I have been recently reminded of my Sherlock Holmes as it pertains to this debate:

    “‘Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing,’ answered Holmes thoughtfully; ‘it may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different’ . . . ‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact’.”

    Evolution is no less dogma than Creation. And where the two split is that creationists use Science to show God, where evolutionists use Science to show no God. It is a battle of faiths.

  8. Steve says:

    J,

    I thought we were off to a good start there with Sewell but now you sound like you’re complaining. I’m simply saying that he’s missused the applicability of the 2nd law. I myself think that evolutionary biology is fantastic science. But I am also a great fan and student of Augustine and Hugh of Saint Victor. You should check out the Didascalicon but you should also check out Orr.

  9. Josh says:

    No complaining here :-) My apologies that the post came across that way.

    “I’m simply saying that he’s missused the applicability of the 2nd law.”

    Well of course you feel that way! Just as it should be expected that I believe Sewell’s argument using the 2nd law to have merit.

    The facts as I have read is that scientists who point their arguments to an intelligent designer must start their arguments from the bottom of the mountain while theories such as evolution and global warming are flown to the top.

    In any case, I will happily continue the debate, even with the belief that evolutionary science wants no debate, except of course within the realm of “accepted science”.

    Anyway, the only point I really wanted to prove here was that a Creationist can have a serious scientific debate based on scientific laws. I have proved that. And in the spirit of that, here’s another link that I have always enjoyed as a resource in the Evolution vs Creation debate over the last few years:

    http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1a.asp

  10. Steve says:

    Josh,

    I don’t “feel” this way about Sewell’s application. 2 + 2 is not 5 even if one “believes” it to be so. Empirically, the 2nd law only applies to isolated systems and lives by the rules of probability because a closed system can have a measurable equilibrium. See Clausius, Lord Kelvin, and Bolzmann.

    In open systems, entropy can exchange in the environment. Metabolism is just one example of just such an open system.

  11. Josh says:

    Quite a bit of information literature I’ve had to read over these last weeks.

    After all I’ve read between open systems and closed systems, current laws of science, radiant energy, Kelvin and Clasius, Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Paley and Darwin, The Big Bang Theory and The Book of Genesis, energy and mass… the question of origin that I put to the evolutionist is this:

    Deconstruct the Universe down to its smallest particle. What do you propose is that particle’s origins?