Thompson: Gates Is Right On Common Core & Student Engagement
Bill Gates' speech to the Education Commission of the States includes an ebullient endorsement of Common Core that I read as "not wrong," and an endorsement of peer review that I see as a step in the right direction. Some of Gates' vision for technology, I believe, merits full-throated praise:
"Imagine if kids poured their time and passion into a video game that taught them math concepts while they barely noticed because it was so enjoyable... The goal of the game is to rescue animals whose ships are stuck in outer space. The ships require different amounts of fuel, powered by lasers. So the players have to manipulate fractions to split the lasers into the right amount of fuel." (see full text here).
Of course, there are a couple of things missing from the Gates vision. I would remind Gates that teachers have a lot of other ways of assessing student mastery. The best way is conversing with the student. And I would remind him that the optimal way to make his vision a reality is to recruit adults, with all types of skills (including, but not limited to computers), to pioneer "win win" innovations, as opposed to using technology for command and control. Rather that focusing on our schools' and our governance systems' weaknesses, why not build on the creativity that invented those digital miracles?- JT(@drjohnthompson) via.