Here are some excepts from a Wall Street Journal article on October 15, 2011 adapted from a speech given by Rupert Murdoch is chairman and CEO of News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal and a new Education Division. This article is adapted from his remarks Friday to the Foundation for Excellence in Education Summit in San Francisco.
“Our children are growing up in Steve Jobs’s world. They are eager to learn and quick to embrace new technology. Outside the classroom they take technology for granted—in what they read, in how they listen to music, in how they shop.The minute they step back into their classrooms, it’s like going back in time. The top-down, one-size-fits-all approach frustrates the ones who could do more advanced work. And it leaves further and further behind those who need extra help to keep up.”
“Teachers are likewise stunted. Some excel at lecturing. Some are better at giving personal attention. With the right structure, [teachers] would work together like a football team. With the existing structure, they are treated like interchangeable cogs.”
“Better doesn’t have to be more expensive, either. For example, Georgia state legislators now spend $40 million a year on textbooks. They are considering iPads to save money and boost performance. Unlike a textbook—which is outdated the moment it is printed—digital texts can be updated.”
“Let’s be clear: Technology is never going to replace teachers. What technology can do is give teachers closer, more human and more rewarding interactions with their students. It can give children lesson plans tailored to their pace and needs. And it can give school districts a way to improve performance in the classroom while saving their taxpayers money.”
“Steve Jobs knew all about competitive markets. He once likened our school system to the old phone monopoly. “I remember,” he said in a 1995 interview, “seeing a bumper sticker with the Bell Logo on it and it said ‘We don’t care. We don’t have to.’ And that’s what a monopoly is. That’s what IBM was in their day. And that’s certainly what the public school system is. They don’t have to care.”
“We have to care. In this new century, good is not good enough. Put simply, we must approach education the way Steve Jobs approached every industry he touched. To be willing to blow up what doesn’t work or gets in the way. And to make our bet that if we can engage a child’s imagination, there’s no limit to what he or she can learn.”
You may not accept Rupert Murdoch’s or Steve Jobs’ brand of politics or vision of education reform, but what can we take away from their perspective?
So how would a bold, innovative and perfection driven mind such as that of Steve Jobs have sought to restructure and re-imagine education in this region?
How could we redesign physical learning environments?
How might teachers become the “Apple” of education’s eye?
How can teachers compete with and be even more useful, engaging and inspiring than the iphone!?
Is there a way to effectively package and transport a “first rate teacher” in your pocket, so to speak? What might get lost in the tech. translation–how can we supplement?
Yes, these questions can feel somewhat threatening to ask–but they have to be asked if we are to evolve with students and avoid going the way of the IBM and dinosaurs.