professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Yesterday I posted about turning 61. So why today is the number 42 the focus of the blog? For those of you who are not fans of Douglas Adams, and do not know the reference, 42 is the answer to EVERYthing. And that is the basis for this erudite piece at The author, Adam Bessie4, brings up a point I have noted on several occasions: the mechanization of education or what happens when technology takes over. Close to the end of this article, Bessie observes, "This complete and utter faith in technical progress and its inherent goodness, though, leaves no room for questions and, certainly, little for imagination. This relentless focus on standards, efficiency and productivity has transformed our schools into what Henry Giroux aptly describes as a "Dead Zone of The Imagination," in which education is not an open journey of exploration and enrichment - of beautiful uncertainty - but, rather, a "prescribed subject matter," reduced to training for a fixed, certain outcome. "

I recall hearing about the former Soviet Union which emphasized science and math and all but outlawed speculative fiction at one point. Their goal seems eerily familar: to become more competitive in the space race, in science, to move ahead of other countries. Instead, one of the results that no one could have predicted was that the leve of invention decreased. Why? Because no one was asking that fundamental question: WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF? It is a question at the heart of invention, isn't it? What would happen if I was trying to develp a new glue that seemed to be too temporary. What would happen if? Post-it Notes was born of this type of thinking.

And I wonder then, what will happen as we puch kids more and more under CCSS to read nonfiction and shy away from fiction? Will there still be those thinkers, those daydreamers, those who wonder WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF?
Tags: ccss, gates, technology

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