The New WIZARD OF OZ: Who is Behind the Curtain in Education?

Pearson and Florida Virtual School Announce Agreement.

Some are calling it “Pearson-alized Learning”…

“Orlando, FL and New York, NY, November 17, 2010 –: A private/public alliance between Pearson and Florida Virtual School (FLVS) will accelerate virtual learning opportunities around the world for millions of school students who have grown up smack in the middle of the technology revolution.

The new Pearson Virtual Learning powered by Florida Virtual School will offer schools throughout the US and across the globe more than 100 FLVS courses in all subject areas for grades 6-12, including advanced placement and career and technology courses. The virtual courses will be aligned to the new Common Core state standards.”

When I first saw this article, I was struck deeply by three thoughts:

(1.) Wow, Grandma saw it first!  I saw this article because my Grandma had tagged me in a link to it posted by her friend on Facebook. Now think about that for a minute.  Yes, my Grandma is awesome!  Also, this highlighted for me again the fact of how digitalization improves access to information, that it is an equalizer. New media proliferates in ever new creative ways, and it is intergenerational.  So stop blaming rapid change on “those crazy kids” with their pesky video games!  We are all implicated.  We are all involved.  We all stand to benefit.   We all have something to learn. We are all need to be aware.  We all need to pay attention.  We all need to get in the debate and share perspectives from various vantage points.

(2.) Shucks! I wish we did it first!  And why didn’t we?  Why can’t we be the innovators, the “Apple” of education’s eye? Why didn’t our government or school boards think big time and get there first?  It seemed like only a matter of time before some power player would take the reigns to provide online learning in a widespread way.  I’ll be watching this Pearson-Florida initiative closely.  This will mean more choice and opportunity for students, but it won’t necessarily mean the learning provided is of the highest calibre. There will be bugs to work out along the way, but it will be a beast that can be refined over time if those in charge want to respond to their customers-students. Business has always been keen to do that–public education can be a little slower due to government bottlenecking…a bottleneck where we are pausing not just due to inefficiency and lack of funding but also because, hopefully, we are teasing out the philosophical implications of actions…

(3.) What is the role of teachers in this kind of “21st century”?  Who do we need to be to be relevant?  I don’t see how teachers could ever be phased out, but they may go behind the curtain of technology, Wizard of Oz-style. Or maybe, teachers are the hollogram projected by the  “Wizard”.  In this case, who is behind the curtain?  Who is this new Wizard?  Corporations?  Consumers?  Students? What is the role of teachers in this new era?

4 thoughts on “The New WIZARD OF OZ: Who is Behind the Curtain in Education?

  1. Tiffany, you are a brilliant educator and really ahead of your time. I wish that my kids were fortunate enough to have a teacher as bold as you. I love your comments. You are an inspiration. Keep up he battle. You are truly an inspiration.

    • Nancy, wow, thank you so much for your incredibly kind comments…the blog is only a reflection of the learning occurring for me because of working with our amazing class and other teachers who keep challenging me to question assumptions. It is scary to share a voice in the public sphere, and so I enter cautiously with my questions…getting a little bolder with time…I thank you so much for reading! :) :) :)

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