#DadLife: I wonder…

I love a good rhetorical question (“Why can’t every day be my birthday?” or¬†“Is there no one who can save us from Super Villain X’s evil machinations?”). The whole point of a rhetorical question however is that the question is either unanswerable or the answer is self-evident (“Uh, it’s just not physically possible to have endless birthdays.” or “Obviously Super Hero Y will come and save the day!”).

It really bothers me when rhetorical questions are misused to incorrectly imply that something is unanswerable or self-evident as is the case in this blog post from #DadLife. He proudly details how his child plays an iPad game for ten whole minutes and then ends his post with a rhetorical question: “[D]id she get to do anything like this level of problem solving in her 7 hours at school today?”

The author is implying one of two things here and I am honestly not sure which one to go with:

  • He has no means of knowing what his daughter might have learned in school today.
  • It is obvious to everyone that his daughter did not learn anything of value in school today.
I reject both of these implications. Clearly he could have spent those ten whole minutes of iPad time engaging with his child directly to find our what she was learning in her time at school. He could also have spent ten whole minutes speaking with his child’s teacher about his child’s engagement and learning.
Both of these easy solutions make his rhetorical question seem like a lazy cop-out…which leads me to my own rhetorical question: “Does this parent seriously think that ten minutes on an iPad is better than talking to his child about her day at school or engaging in a meaningful way with her teacher?” The answer is, in this case, self-evident: This parent believes that ten whole minutes of iPad time are more insightful to him than engaging his child or her teacher directly.

#DadLife: I wonder….

The 2011 K-12 Horizon Report: Too optimistic? | Dangerously Irrelevant | Big Think

Ouch! Scott McLeod pulls no punches in this response to the 2011 K-12 Horizon Report. He echoes Gary Stager’s assertion that most technology growth is replicative in nature: SmartBoards replicating chalkboards, clickers/responders replicating multiple-choice quizzes, teacher-selected YouTube clips replicating¬†filmstrips and VHS tapes. Even Moodle takes a hit as he claims that it is simply another environment created and controlled by teachers. (True, too.)

He laments the missed opportunities of new and emerging technologies: “We still have too many teachers who have no clue what Google Docs or Twitter are, for example. We still have too many administrators who are blocking mobile learning devices and are fearful of online learning spaces.”¬†

This parallels so many conversations I have been having recently with colleagues and articles I have been reading online about the disparate expectations that Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers have regarding technology, education and daily life…perhaps this will be fodder for a future post here on MSIT Next.

The 2011 K-12 Horizon Report: Too optimistic? | Dangerously Irrelevant | Big Think

Adjusting the Prescription | The University of Virginia Magazine

One of the great things about our job is that we are often consulted about new and interesting ideas from The Great Beyond. This week the three of us were sent a link to an article in the online University of Virginia Magazine and asked to share our responses.

While it would be tempting at first blush to read this article as an endorsement of the “shiny, new things” approach to innovation, it actually presents a fascinating look at curricular re-imagining for this university medical school program. The photos seem to showcase the technology/tools (large screens, round tables, student laptops, high-tech mannequins) but the real star of the show is the dramatic changes in teaching and learning styles (professors as guides and co-learners, students as researchers and constructors of knowledge).

Adjusting the Prescription | The University of Virginia Magazine