I was supposed to go to a talk given at UW by Yong Zhao last week, as he is someone being considered for the PNAIS conference keynote this fall, but because of snow delays and cancellations in the east coast, he wasn’t able to make it and I wasn’t up to going to watch a video of his prepared talk. I did however go to his website and we were told his slideshow for that talk was available (you can download it by clicking the link at the end of this post. Even though, there aren’t a lot of words, the slides speak volumes. He argues that we also need to continue focusing on the innovative and creative, the critical thinking and problem solving skills for the 21st C and that we are teaching too much to the test. Basically, he says that if it can be automated, it will. I hope teaching in an elementary school will continue to be a very dynamic profession and one that won’t be automated. He also responds to a recent study that shows the dramatic increase in our kids’ consumption of media. He argues that rather than try to stop kids from screen time (it’s pretty futile at this point), we need to make sure they are using the tools efficiently, taught to manage their time, and most of all be producers of media and create. Yong Zhao’s presentation at Evergreen 2010
He has a book recently published, Catching Up, or Leading the Way? which highlights the differences between American and other Asian education systems and why we as a nation are moving away from letting our kids think for themselves. We need to worry less about international math scores and focus on keeping our kids motivated (Daniel Pink’s new book, DRIVE is all about motivation and is on my list. If you recall, many of you I know read his book, A Whole New Mind a few years ago.) .