last night in Mr Obama’s State of the Union address (PDF transcript) he mentioned something that has bothered me about secondary education – the No Child Left Behind Act. one of the issues that many feel is negative about that programme was directly mentioned:
To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test . . .
that has huge ramifications. teaching to the test sucks because many teachers are evaluated on how well their classes do on standardized tests and those outcomes can affect employment! testing certainly has its place, but in the US it is often seen as “the” measure. this testing-centric measure of success extends beyond secondary school into the university setting and i think it is one reason that a study found that 36% of US students have no improvement in critical thinking skills after four years of college!
creativity and passion are what inspire learning – not what the answer to question 23 is!
if what the US president said becomes valued by the educational community, then we may see a greater use of resources like OpenSim. OpenSim can be a great creative channel for both the teacher and student, and it’s a resource that is fairly accessible (more so than many hi-tech and high-priced current classroom trends)
now that US teachers may be more free to get back to teaching as a passion and not a test score, i hope to see continued exploration of OpenSim as a useful tool
one of the stumbling blocks for OpenSim adoption has to do with content. Second Life rules regarding content but Second Life is not appropriate for secondary education
having a starting point, such as OAR files with terraforming, landscaping, buildings, and tools, helps make adoption of OpenSim more successful. coincidentally, Graham Mills has just started a fantastic resource list of educational OAR files! it’s a Google Doc and a clever way to gather this information in one place
http://bit.ly/edu_oars (permalinked on the side “go to” links –>)
thanks Graham! =)