Rhetoric, have you met Reality?
Posted June 29, 2016on:
There is a saying that hindsight is 20/20. People who say this mean that things look clearer once you get past them. It is easy to look back and see what you have accomplished.
It is also easy to paint a picture rosier than actually was. Our memories are more fickle than we would like to admit. One of my favourite sayings is: Nostalgia is like grammar. It makes the past perfect and the present tense.
So when ISTE2016 made this declaration, I clap and I caution.
Let us celebrate successes, but not congratulate ourselves prematurely. Things may have changed, but they are not representative of every context, even in the so-called first world.
For example, participants at ISTE were having wifi issues.
We know of teachers who are still behind or trying to get over the “how to use tech” barrier. If you conducted a study, I would wager that a significant portion of “professional development” gets stuck at technology awareness and basic training.
Singapore embarked on the ICT Masterplan 4 this year, but teachers still complain about access and connectivity. They are not just talking about technology (poor signal, blocked resources), but also about policy and practice.
I mention these not to play down the achievements of any system attempting and embracing change. It takes guts, persistence, and time for change to happen and there will always be laggards and brickbats.
But let us not give naysayers fuel for their fire.
I say we admit we have failings, address them, and learn from them. I say we not whitewash underlying problems. I say we challenge rhetoric with reality.