Chapters 4-6: Why China Isn’t a Threat Yet and the Challenges of Globalization and Technology
· “…gaofen dineng, which literally means high scores but low ability. It is used to refer to students who score well on tests but have few skills that are usable in society” (p. 81). After reading about the various “glorified” education systems throughout Asia and how much time students in other countries actually devote to particular subjects, I am further convinced that standardizing education is NOT the solution that America should be adopting.
· “…the virtual world is as real as the physical world, psychologically, economically, politically, and socially” (p. 128). I completely agree, in that almost everything that can be accessed and implemented in a virtual platform can lead to many positive outcomes, or severely adverse effects in the physical world.
· “Communities need to provide services that are culturally sensitive and linguistically competent to assist new immigrants, to attract international investments and tourists, and to get on the global stage” (p. 112). With our world becoming so globalized, it makes sense that immigration and emigration will resume, and this requires that diversity is not only celebrated, but supported. There are no virtual borders, so in the physical world, cultures shouldn’t just be tolerated. I dislike the world “tolerance” because it hints to the fact that we just “put up with” differences; we should embrace individual and collective identities as valuable for innovation and prosperity.
· Since the United States is so competitive, presumably because of its celebration of diversity and individual talents that lead to innovation, why would policymakers be quick to point out the fact that American students score lower on international exams than students in other countries?
· Because John Seely Brown, Douglas Thomas, Will Richardson, Yong Zhao, and hosts of other authors about educational reform speak about online gaming, doesn’t it make sense for all educators to implement “badging” systems as motivational and/or assessment tools? Gamification seems to be something all of us can relate to with many technological advancements.
· Zhao mentions various sad stories of students who attend and graduate from prestigious educational institutions, yet fail to contribute to society (p. 80-82). I watched a friend in high school earn a 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT and also sabotage his GPA for the sake of Academic Decathlon, a well-known extracurricular club. He wasn’t admitted to UC Berkeley, the only school to which he applied, and never attended college. He became depressed and labeled himself according to the standardized measures, as did Cal Berkeley. Although he was similar to the Zhuangyuan, or top provincial student, he failed to be well-rounded (p. 82). As educators, and possibly future administrators, it is our ethical duty to ensure students learn to find a way to integrate personal talents and passions into their curricular studies.
· Dr. Michael Wesch’s video, “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able” (2010) echoes what Zhao says, in that “Education that is oriented solely to preparing students to achieve high scores on tests can be harmful to both individuals and the nation it is supposed to serve” (p. 85).
· Zhao makes reference to Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, in which globalization has truly emerged due to the “flattening” or leveled playing field, thanks to technological advancements (p. 98-101). Since I’ve read both books, it’s interesting to note that Zhao discusses the economic prosperity that results from virtual and physical immigration and emigration of citizens in our ever-advancing globalized world (p. 108-109). However, these advancements are continuing to shed light on the educational and economical inequities worldwide.
· Through the various tools I’ve learned about in EDL 680, I now feel comfortable using technology as an instrument for celebrating student diversity, individual strengths and weaknesses so that students can learn the power of transparency and accountability. Student-to-student encouragement, as iron sharpens iron. I am not concerned with my students’ scores being as high as other international students, as I am more concerned with the innovative factor. Individual talents lead to innovations, not standardized test scores.
· Using technology to promote effective collaboration and unique thought-processing in online collectives with various students is quite possibly a solution for enhancing global societies. Allowing students to include their tacit learning experiences can not only transform a curriculum and make it come alive to students, but it increases the relevance within the rigorous concepts.
· Zhao mentions that “Our schools have been teaching the skills and knowledge needed for an industrial economy, preparing our children to work only in the physical world. The challenge our schools must face is to begin teaching the skills and knowledge needed for the virtual economy” (p. 131). Zhao isn’t speaking just about American schools. This is powerful for me, because now I can lead my school to promote web design, online collectives, and gamification without worrying that I’m out of line. This movement is happening, with or without my effort, so adopting these ideas now will give my students a “future-ready” edge on the students who are, sadly, continuing to be taught obsolete methods by obsolete teachers for obsolete careers.
Zhao, Y. (2009). Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.