A Sesame Spin on a Seuss Classic

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A Sesame Spin on a Seuss Classic

By Jeffrey Dunn     Dec 13, 2016

A Sesame Spin on a Seuss Classic

This article is part of the guide: EdSurge 2017 Personal Statements.

“Oh, The Places You’ll Go” is one of the most popular books by Dr. Seuss. Where do you hope education technology will go in 2017? What aspects of curriculum or community might get us there? (Dartmouth College)

When EdSurge asked me for some year-end thoughts about education technology in the form of a college application essay, I was happy to contribute. And when I saw that one of the essay options was about "Oh, The Places You’ll Go," I was inspired to channel my inner Seuss. In the spirit of holiday fun, I hope you’ll enjoy this edtech-inspired take on a classic:

What are my hopes for edtech next year?
EdSurge asked me to make them all clear.
“Write The Places You’ll Go for the future of technology”,
To comply, I begin with this: “Dr. Seuss, you have my apology!”

Now, I believe improving our kids’ education
is our single most critical goal as a nation.
So here, in a few lines of Seuss and Sesame-like fun
are some thoughts about how we can get the job done.

There’s a startling contrast between rich and poor….
Opportunity’s not knocking on EVERY door
Progress has been made—this is certainly true
But there remains so very much, MUCH more to do.

Low income kids are still falling behind
We need to help grow everyone’s mind
We can’t have some lag their affluent peers
With a knowledge gap growing and lasting for years.

Sesame has a mission, to help kids grow smarter,
stronger and kinder—and so we try harder.
We work to give each kid an excellent shot
to use all of the talents (s)he’s inherently got.

Way back when we first launched Sesame Street
Television was the cutting edge educational feat
And TV is still great, but today we can reach
kids with new digital ways that can teach.

We must take up the challenge, answer the call
To level the playing field, once and for all.
Inequities aren’t solved by mere evolution.
The time is ripe now for a NEW revolution.

Edtech is one way to bridge gaps and advance;
Life-changing for students if we give it a chance.
Tech offers great prospects and rich possibility,
To children all ages and every ability.

Tech tools might be able to help teachers screen
for dyslexia, dysgraphia, other differences seen.
Catching challenges early helps intervention
and can boost self-esteem, reduce stigma and tension.

Meeting each child’s needs—that’s personalized learning.
It’s the great equalizer: the future we’re earning.
It’s key to start early—Pre-school is ideal—
when the brain grows most rapidly, the gains will be real.

Let’s build the best platforms for adaptive instruction!
For confident writers! For coders! (All under construction.)
Dream big! Of public classrooms where it will only seem prudent
to have on-demand tutors for all of our students.

And (like our work with Watson) Artificial Intelligence
can help kids learn with a certain tech elegance.
With virtual reality, kids travel the world.
King Tut’s tomb! The Sahara! New vistas unfurl.

So, go forth and create. Invent your inventions!
Some will win big—surpass your intentions.
But others will fall right off of the track.
Don’t be blue. That’s called progress: 2 forward; 1 back.

But—parents, teachers, creators—if all of us try
With the right tools and breakthroughs our children will fly!
It can surely be done. Maybe not in one year…
But recent developments show reason for cheer.

Edtech is the key to a much brighter world with access that’s equal
And provides educational opportunity for each nation’s people
We just need to keep at it ’til this race is finally won.
See you out there helping kids… Happy New Year, everyone!

Jeffrey Dunn is President and CEO of Sesame Workshop

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