Where do I begin? I spent the last thirty minutes listening to a group of arrogant and condescending non educators disrespect my colleagues and profession. I listened to a group of disingenuous people whose own self-interests guide their policies rather than the interests of children. I listened to a cabal of people who sit on national education committees that will have a profound impact on classroom teaching practices. And I heard nothing of value.
“I’m thinking about the current health care debate, “I said. “And I am wondering if I will be asked to sit on a national committee charged with the task of creating a core curriculum of medical procedures to be used in hospital emergency rooms.”
The strange little man cocks his head and, suddenly, the fly on the wall has everyone’s attention.
“I realize that most people would think I am unqualified to sit on such a committee because I am not a doctor, I have never worked in an emergency room, and I have never treated a single patient. So what? Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach.”” —2009 National Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen, describing his experience at a national conference on the future of teaching in his blog post, “Teachers Should Be Seen and Not Heard.” This should be read. (via politicalprof)
We’re now at a point where curators rule the content world, by collectively deciding whether content gets amplified or lost. As a result, quality of content is again starting to win out over quantity, with an assist from smarter search algorithms and the death of content farms. As power continues to shift to the curators, great long-form content continues to increase in value, as it’s shared and consumed by more and more people. Today, one exceptional, widely shared essay is far more valuable than a thousand disparate tweets.
The “better filters” conversation is an important one. But I don’t think it’s just about algorithms. At the end of the day, while the technology can help us aggregate potentially relevant and interesting content and information, if we don’t have the “curation” skills to make sense of it for ourselves, it doesn’t really matter much.
And, while curation may mark the return of the long form essay, just because it’s shared doesn’t mean it will get read. There is still a lot more work and thinking to do about how to cultivate reading and writing habits in ourselves and in our children that reflect the opportunities and challenges of this writing-rich moment.
Like…now that our kids have access to an authentic audience, why don’t we give them all sorts of opportunities to write about the things THEY care about in ways that have a real purpose and meaning in the world. Becoming a great writer starts with developing a passion for writing, something we too often extinguish in schools.