Murdoch: education failing

Here's a gem from Digital Learning Now with the text of News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch's address to the e-G8 Forum in Paris on 24th may this year. Murdoch urged Internet companies to pull out the stops in developing digital education programmes to revolutionise the world's classrooms, complaining that pupils are still condemned to dreary "Victorian-age" classrooms despite the potential of the web for revolutionising education.

I haven't often felt aligned with what this chap has had to say, but there's some compelling stuff in this talk. He holds nothing back, accusing schools of being the last holdout from the digital revolution.

he argues that simply throwing money at the problem doesn’t work (and cites his own experience of having tried this as proof.) To those who argue that the problem is the kids – that they're too poor or from bad families – he responds strongly with "…absolute rubbish. This is arrogant, elitist and utterly unacceptable."

His solution is straight forward, and has a sound pedagogical basis; "Every study will tell you that the more interactive and intimate learning is, the better the student will perform." The key here? Software that will engage students and help teach them concepts and learn to think for themselves. Murdoch also argues the case for personalisation as a second key to resolving this.

His final quote captures the intensity of how he feels about this:

In our own backyards, we have millions of young people whose minds are the key to our future. It is time to insist that our schools use every technology we can to unlock their potential – and treat them as the precious resource they are.

Certainly something for us to think about – for those outside education, how we can respond with resources that will meet this challenge, and for those inside, to stop defending the status quo and opening the doors for this sort of learning to happen.

2 thoughts on “Murdoch: education failing

  1. Derek, the problem with the Digital Learning Now folks – and I suspect Murdoch's comments are in line with this – they aren't interested in the use of technology as a way to transform education for the purposes of improving education.  This is only a guise to mask the true aims of a corporate takeover of public education.  If you take the Disrupting Class, Liberating Learning, Saving Schools, Digital Learning Now folks to their logical conclusions you arrive at an education system that very much resembles the current health care system in the United States.
    There is one health care system in the US for those with money and/or insurance and one for everyone else.  I don't need to tell you which one you want to be a part of.  The logical conclusion of the corporate takeover that is being undertaken under the ruse of educational reform – including the massive support for K-12 online learning – will be one education system for those with economic, social or political capital and another system for those that do not possess those things.  In the US, like many other jurisdictions, that also has ethnic/racial overtones – which I'd argue is another reason the rich "right" support it.

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