I have been thinking about the achievement gap a lot lately. Just wanted to float my thoughts and see where everyone else is about this.

First by way of a definition, when I say achievement gap, I am using the wikipedia definition. And in terms of testing, I am assuming the focus is on math, reading and science.

We are focused on the wrong achievement gap. Most of what I see is insuring that our kids are prepared for the jobs that exist today, not the jobs that exist when they enter the workforce.

If you believe that 80% of the jobs that our kindergartners will have in their lifetimes don't exist today, we have to be preparing them in a completely different way. We need to help them to think, to use technology to accomplish what it is they want to accomplish, we need them to be passionate, to create. We need them to understand how to communicate in the traditional ways and more importantly using technology that have not yet been invented.

We need not to be afraid of wikipedia or facebook or twitter or youtube. We need to help them to understand how these tools can be used for fun and in a productive way. Where we don't get it, we have to let them explore not shut them off.

We need to train our educators to use technology in ways that we don't understand. It has to be ok to let them go beyond what we know and understand.

In short, we need to prepare them for the achievement gap of the future.

So - what do you think?

Tags: achievement, facebook, gap, technology, twitter, youtube

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You are right. But even computer science is not enough. Or maybe it depends on your definition of computer science. Art can include technology. Photography the same. What is gaming and where will it go? I believe all of the web will be 3D, so the separation of gaming from web design will disappear. What comes after chat. Will we get back to face to face with video. Where is medicine going? Nanotechnology will be a part of that.

So completely agree that computer science is fundamental. And so is the use of technology in everything that we do.
Hey Dale,
Just my opinion but what bugs me the most, related to computer skills, are parents that think their children are computer literate because they can get their email and play computer games. More sad is that many parents can not. Even more sad.....some teachers can not. Teaching how to use twitter, facebook,wikis or creating youtube interactive videos to students in school is not important for the simple reason they (students) already know how to use these apps/products better than most teachers. Frankly it is a bit embarrassing. My view is that most teachers are only trying to incorporate these things to appear as if they are cutting edge. Much of the technology is a hulla hoop if you really think about it. There are some teachers who were brought up in the "scene" that use it like second nature where it actually has a justifiable purpose (fast interaction with other into the same scene). But wasting 20 minutes to jerk around with a system you do not grasp to send a message of little importance is just showing your students your an idiot. Don't worry about teaching students how to use an app / product....teach them how to develop a business plan ,write patents and write code to create an app/product. Anyone can be a consumer but what we need are entrepreneurs, thinkers, leaders.
Just my view.
The 21st century technology is the Internet and more importantly the information it brings. I think if we just focus on teaching students how to be reserchers, how to question what they see and read and most of all how to contribute (by wikis, blogs and twitter) to the knowledge that is already there they will be ready for the future. There will be new technologies but the Web 2.0 is not going anywhere. I also think that the achievement gap among students is directly connected to the information gap aka self-inflicted digital divide between the Flat World and many educators.
To me, this is definitely a part of what I call explore. They know how to do this in general. They can find anything on youtube or wikipedia. They don't know how to take it further. And as far as I can tell - they are often told NOT to use things like wikipedia. Exploring is fun and educational!

By the way, my view is that Web 2.0 will most definitely go away. It will become a 3D web, use different languages to search and so on - in the future. But that doesn't change your point!
Have you read Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap? I just finished it, and it addresses the very issues that you are discussing here.
I have not, but just ordered it:)
Got the book and have just started reading it. Great so far. I will have a lot to post as I go through it. I like the data he has included. Only comment so far is he has missed a couple of key word that I like to use - creativity and passion. Also seems to believe schools can be fixed. I am not sure they alone can be the answer.
I am so getting this book!



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