The Learning Edge by Bain & Weston (Summary 7 of 8)

I am currently reading The Learning Edge: What Technology Can Do to Educate All Children by Alan Bain & Mark E. Weston as part of my personal growth plan. Click below for summaries of previous chapters

Chapter 1: Education & Technology

Chapter 2: The Classroom

Chapter 3: Schools

Chapter 4: Transforming Districts

Chapter 5: Associations and Edge Technology

Chapter 6: Policy Shifts

Chapter 7: The Role of Industry

I admit…I had to take a step back from reading after this chapter. Perhaps because I AM in “the industry,” I was more critical of this chapter than in previous ones. Some of the issues in education that the authors say the industry dismisses happen to be the very topics that my organization discusses every day.

Two points that most captured my attention were:

1. When talking about education’s resistance to innovation (which I concur is a problem), the authors quote, “This fact is apparent in the field’s general ambivalence (Fullan, 2007) about so many students dropping out of school, scoring poorly on tests, and being unprepared for the world of work.” (page 160)

2. On the same page, the authors offer that the field (of education) is “uninformed by research.”

While I think we have many issues that educators are trying to solve with varying degrees of success, I must disagree that educators – be they teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members, or consultants – are ambivalent about dropout rates, test scores, or preparing students for their future. (Indeed, I more often see evidence that we are hyper-focused on test scores.)

I also disagree that education is uninformed by research. The very reason my organization is often sought by clients is because of our research base. I agree that there is conflicting and, in some cases, a lack of research, but I wouldn’t go so far to call it uninformed.

Interestingly, the Summary at the end of the chapter worded the problem of “research” in a way that I find more agreeable:

“The field of education’s lack of consensus about research-informed practice makes it difficult for the ICT industry to build responsive and scalable business models to benefit education.” (page 184)

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