WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE K-12 EDUCATION IN AMERICA?
I am particularly passionate about K-12 education in the U.S., specifically the areas of learning and literacy. It’s no secret that U.S. performance in the arena of education has declined by international standards over the last 15-20 years. China and India have successfully equipped their young people and have graduated large numbers of engineers and computer scientists over the last two decades. As a result of their solid educational foundation, many highly sought-after jobs are going to these graduates.
There is much room for improvement in this area for K-12 students in the U.S. Changing our attitudes about how to deliver education to our students is a necessary step if we are to regain respect and credibility as a nation. It is a very exciting time to be focused on this issue because we are at a critical turning point as citizens of the 21st century thanks to the Internet. There is an important shift in the way information is being created, consumed, and distributed. This analog to digital shift has been embraced and exploited to some extent by different industries globally, but by and large U.S. K-12 education has yet to experience the full effect of what’s helping to change and transform other industries. Investing in the idea of Education 2.0 (web-enabled, active, community-based learning) is imperative if we are going to empower ourselves and our children to be key contributors in the 21st century.
This issue of K-12 education matters a lot to me because I’ve seen over and over the major implications that educational foundations (both solid and shaky) have had on people throughout their lives. A good education is the foundation for so much in our daily activities. From job opportunities to our social interactions, what we’ve gathered from our education informs our decision making and helps us put into context almost every situation that we find ourselves in. If we accept this notion as true, how could we as a country not invest in educational infrastructure to stay at the cutting edge in this space? We owe it to ourselves and our families, the opportunity to build the best educational foundation possible.
Overall, I believe we’ve failed to engage our K-12 students. The activities that draw them in, such as video games, mobile devices, and social networking are not embraced as learning tools and therefore are not embedded into their curricula. The old command-and-control approach still dominates in schools today. The teacher dictates the content while the students listen (or daydream) and then the homework is assigned to determine whether the knowledge transfer was successful. I liken this to riding a bicycle across the country in an age where airplanes are prevalent. So much more could be done if we changed our content and delivery methods.
I am dedicated to contributing to the ‘new wave’ of curriculum design and educational content delivery which I think will become standardized once the technologies that are available today make their way into K-12 classrooms. I get excited every day about being able to deliver better solutions via new technologies to students and educators all over the world. There are interesting methods being researched at the moment that counter the conventions of our established and traditional educational framework. Infusing gaming and competition into curriculum, using collaboration and community to deliver term papers, encouraging students to blog and publish online content, and using social networks for planning events and calendaring; these are all unconventional methods that are being rolled out at this very moment. My sister invited me just this week to join her Ning social network as part of a homework assignment for one of her sociology classes. These technologies are slowly but surely finding their way into classrooms all over the world.
Creating best practices and guidelines around this new wave of Education 2.0 ideas will help to standardize it in K-12 schools. The end result will be an educational system and an experience that caters more to the culture and preference of this generation of learners thereby giving the students a richer and more valuable educational foundation. This will translate into more job opportunities, better social interactions, and a wider lens with which to view the world as these individuals go about making their everyday decisions. The issue of education matters so much to me because I truly believe that I can be a part of the solution that will translate into a much better experience for thousands upon thousands of kids who are becoming more and more apathetic towards their schooling and overall educational experience. If my hypotheses are correct and I am able to realize my dreams in this area, I will be able to win back the attention and interests of these boys and girls.
this concludes my 3 part series relating to the Facebook Beta-tester position . . .
good morning, good afternoon, and good night