When education serves the state’s desire for obedience and capitalist consumption, individual freedoms and democratic participation are in danger. This is most evident in the failure of schools to promote the creative and critical literacies students should practice when choosing what and how to read.
Democratic values are at risk when many students exit the public education system hating reading and unaware of the aesthetic pleasures in literature. My research indicates that reading, at its best, is the cognitive embodiment of individual liberty.
I ask students to draw a picture of what happens when they read, and these drawings indicate a taxonomy of five metaphors we use when we think and talk about reading, such as “consumption” and “transportation.” At the core of these metaphors is the central metaphor of all reading, “movement.” Thus, if all reading is ultimately about movement, it is also about the freedom to move–that is, the freedom to choose what and how to read.
However, reading in school is rarely about choice, and with the advent of state-mandated testing, reading is now converted into a chop-shop of isolated bits of knowledge to be consumed and regurgitated on demand.
My presentation is to be heard as a rallying call to action, a call to take back schools from the testing bureaucrats and return it to teachers who know that reading is the life-blood of democratic life.
SXSW explores the ways social media has profoundly changed nearly every facet of society from government to commerce to dating and friendship. Despite incredible societal change, K-12 education has remained largely unchanged. Every day, students leave their smartphones and laptops at the schoolhouse door. As a result, students, parents and teachers feel a powerful disconnect between the time students spend in school and the lives they live outside of it. If school is to remain a vital piece of young people's lives - and our society - it must evolve to help students thrive in our changing world.
This is the notion behind School 2.0. But what will these new schools look like? What are the philosophical ideas that form it? How can we marry the best of what we know about teaching and learning with the use of 21st Century tools to create schools that are engaging, caring, and relevant places of learning for everyone involved? The story of the Science Leadership Academy, a progressive, inquiry-driven, project-based 1:1 laptop public high school will frame this presentation. Conceived as a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute, SLA is considered to be one of the pioneers of the School 2.0 movement and has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School in 2009 and 2010 and has been written about in many publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Edutopia Magazine and EdWeek.
11th–15th March 2011