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EdTech: Mirror, Mirror

Reflections have always amazed me. How is it possible one object could capture the exact image of another object? I understand the physics and all, but I often wonder about what the image actually looks like—is our interpretation bias?

Sometimes what we think we see isn’t really true. In drawing class they tell students to hold their portrait up to a mirror to see the imperfections. These occur because we kind of fill in the mistakes mentally and compensate. However, as the old saying goes, “mirrors do not lie.”

If this is true then we have to re-examine our perception and our preconceived notions about everything, ourselves included.


This is also true when it comes to the educational system that has been basically left untouched for years. I met with an ex-student of mine last night. I haven’t seen him in two years. He is now working as an educational content developer. The field is booming. He can’t work enough hours. His skills are being tested everyday. The entire department is made up of ex-students and co-workers of mine. They are heavily involved in developing educational content for delivery over the Internet. He showed me a website that, as he puts it, is basically television—not video over the Web but an updated version of the television model. If this could change so quickly and, as he notes the company is in South America—basically in a country we have hubristically called a “Third World” nation, then what are we doing? Is this a reflection of our belief system?

Shouldn’t we be using this technology to address the issues of education in our country? We have to come to realize there is a new economy out there—one that needs innovation to succeed. Gone are the days of the “jerk.” A “jerk” was someone in a company whose job it was to untangle or unclog any backup in the production line. This was usually accomplished with minimal training or effort. If and when necessary, they would “jerk” the assembly line back into working order—hence the name. There are no more jobs for “jerks.” The economy doesn’t allow for them.

So how do we as a society teach the ones that need to be taught differently? I am not saying they are “jerks”—derogatorily just that we do have people in our society who weren’t made for CEO positions. So now that civil service and municipal services are laying off hundreds, where will people who are not cut out for C-Level positions find work? Or better yet, how do we teach and train them? The comedian Pat Cooper once said, “Not everybody is meant to go to college. Who is going to stay home and clean the fish?” So how do we teach them now that the desired skill sets for employment have drastically changed over the last few years? Gone are the days of secure work and secure jobs. You traded high pay for security. Has it been allowed to get so far out of control that it has destroyed itself? How do we do this when our resources are past a tipping point?

We have an overstressed educational system and we are laying-off hundreds of teachers at the same time that we need more personalized training and teaching. What do we do? Is this where the proper use of technology comes to play a major role as a quality control and cost savings device? Read this excerpt from The Atlantic and see.

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More articles filed under Columns,Long Island Education

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