Column #31, posted February 15, 2007

Does the Business Community Give a Damn About Kids?

A wonderful article that tells you all there is to know about why we can’t fix education in this country came out recently:

It identifies the hot areas upcoming in education technology. This is what investors in education will invest in. They are:

  1. User-created content;
  2. Social networking;
  3. Mobile phones;
  4. Virtual worlds;
  5. New scholarship and emerging forms of publication; and
  6. Massively multiplayer educational gaming.
Yet, again the trend is clear. Money will be spent on things that actually have nothing to with education in the hope to make a buck by calling it education. The whole mobile phone thing fascinated me so I read more. This seems to be a way to help kids do their homework!

The most deceptive one is multi-player games. In principle these really could be great educational devices. An entire year in a virtual word could be a very exciting way to learn. But these games are expensive to build, so what will be built are ones that are commercially viable not educationally valid. But, they will be touted as being of educational value the way educational toys are sold as educational  – they entertain and maybe you could learn something.

Yet again we have money for education from the business community not even considering building an alternative to school as it exists now. Why can’t business people (or politicians) ever ask about what and how kids learn in school, and try to change both so school actually works? The answer is easy enough. They just don’t care enough to risk their money fighting the system. Better to build more toys!

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