Where Industry Can Make an Impact in Education

ADVERSARIAL ADVICE: There's no shortage of opinions on the role of private industry in education. In an article published two weeks ago in The Atlantic, Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost bemoans the recent SJSU-Udacity partnership, calling it a "government-endorsed apprehension of a clear public need for private benefit." Fast-forward one week and it's Knewton this time, under the microscope for it's fancy "legal maneuverings" with Arizona State. That's just the past 14 days -- nevermind the decade-long war of words between public and charter school advocates.

Actual shortcomings aside, it seems we've relegated notions of constructive criticism -- let alone alternative solutions--to cheesy MBA courses. That's why it's nice to see Computer Science teacher, Alfred Thompson offer his two cents when he points out the obvious:

"These days I hear teachers say they want to produce students who are creative, critical thinkers, team players who are able to not just “do math” and read and write but who are able to use those tools in new and creative ways. Cool! And what does industry want? Workers who are creative, critical thinkers, team players who are able to not just “do math” and read and write but who are able to use those tools in new and creative ways. What?"

Yep, apparently mass-produced autobots don't add much value to most companies' bottom lines. Thompson goes on to point out more of the obvious: hungry kids don't learn and classrooms can't compete with poor home environments. If you're starting to connect the dots (common goals, different strengths, different problems to address), you'll really vibe with Thompson's suggestions for embracing industry in education. The most provocative? "Professionals in the classroom working with teachers on a long term basis."

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