Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Special Blog Post Assignment

A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind

USA Today celebrates their 30th Anniversary this year. In honor of their anniversary, the reporters interviewed some of the nation's best visionaries. The purpose of each interview was to gain the vissionaries' opinion of what the world would be like in thirty years.

Mary Beth Marklein wrote an article in response to the anniversary called "A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind." In her article, she attached the video that USA Today produced to give examples from all the different visionaries on their opinion of how the world will change over the next thirty years. However, the video also included examples that the visionaries believed would remain the same. Education was listed as one of the concepts of society that would still be the same in thirty years.

The reasoning behind this opinion was that there will always be a constant need to learn. Education has always built character in students in order to prepare them for future jobs. This will always remain true as the purpose to educate students. However, I believe the education system will grow for the better in the next thirty years.

The education system can always use new modifications or new technological resources. With these advances throughout history, the education system has increased in strength. Marklein mentions one man's dream for the education system in the next thirty years. Sebastian Thrun has a dream for an education system called "Udacity". He created this institution in January in order to develop a free catalog of online courses taught by professors around the world.

Mr. Thrun was not the first person to try to revolutionize education. Sal Kahn encourages the "flipping" of classrooms. His definition of "flipping" means that students would study videos of lessons at night for homework, and then, complete assignments based on the videos in the classroom. "Flipping" the classroom illuminates the use of books. It also allows the classroom to conserve paper for the environment because the students would not be taking lecture notes, but they would instead be watching videos at home to learn.

In thirty years, Thrun believes that "there will be no more one-size-fits-all". Basically, he believes that in the future, students will no longer have to respond to education. Instead, education will respond to you. In this particular situation, a teacher would no longer have to wait until every child knew a certain concept because of the online courses. The students would learn at their own pace.

Another concept that Thrun believes will happen in thirty years is the disappearance of grades. According to Thrun, "grades are the failure of the education system." I have to agree that I believe grades can often be outdated in the society in which we live in today. In order to truly learn a concept, students should not memorize the answers or their notes to pass a test. That is simply following through the motions of what Dr. Strange calls "Burp-Back Education."

I agree with Mr. Thrun in that the grading system is a failure to our education system. We make students take standardized test, and we teach according to what will be on these test. If we only teach according to this test though, are our students really learning? Or are they practicing to "memorize" the answers to yet another test?

I know that it is important that educators follow the curriculum given by the state so that we can make sure every child is learning the same content in each grade. However, I do not agree with the idea of grading because not every student will understand a concept based on a "teacher's time". Each child learns at their own pace. Grades help us to present a student's progress to others. If a student receives a failing grade in a particular subject, then the student has not mastered a particular skill. In return, the teacher has failed as well because they did not complete their job of helping the student. Overall, I want to make sure I focus on helping my students to master a skill, not for means of a test, but for life. If my students master a concept, then no matter how or if they are tested, they would pass.

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