Friday, May 20, 2011

Bill Gate's School of the Future

A few weeks ago I wrote about the education paradigm we inherited from Henry Ford's "School of the Future".

Henry Ford was a man of his time, to be sure. He perceived "man" as a mass produced machine, engineered for efficiency, maximizing output, and necessitating and obsession with standards to ensure quality control.

But, oh, how mans relation to the machine has changed since the industrial revolution.

The metaphor might have worked when machines were rudimentary and we were it's master; but with the evolution of the machine the metaphor has become an impossible yoke to bear (I believe this to be the source of much frustration, detachment, and apathy in the psyche of the modern man).

Times have changed and our paradigms for education (how one learns and for what end) need to evolve as well.

In the same way that Henry Ford embodied the industrial revolution, Bill Gates embodies the digital revolution of our time.

With significant investments in education being made from the Gates Foundation, one has to wonder if Bill Gates is driving a new education paradigm; a School of the Future for the 21st century.
"...the Gates Foundation announced $20 million in grants for digital learning with an emphasis on instructive video games."(Fast Company)
If Gates is driving a new paradigm, will it be holistic and dynamic enough to evolve over time? Or will we look back on this paradigm with as much revulsion as we do today with the legacy of Henry Ford? Or is it inevitable to be trapped by our age, continuing to pass down antiqued paradigms?

History can be quite hard on pioneers whose legacy lingers too long.

2 comments:

Anna said...

Not that there's no role for video games in education, but my first thought on reading your quote was that Gates was neglecting the element of relationship, which is important to education and all life.

DK said...

wait until you see some other quotes I have in store about technologies role in the classroom... it's not pretty. ;)