Your Call

Today’s challenge:

Source: (Geoffrey Moore)

Stuart McMillan created a cartoon that he was later asked to take down due to copyright concerns (parts still viewable here), but here is the text and ideas from Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, that were presented in the cartoon:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.
What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book because there would be no one who would want to read one. 
Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.
Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.
Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us.
Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.
Orwell feared we would become a captive culture.
Huxley feared we would become a trival culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy…
In “Nineteen Eighty Four” people are controlled by inflicting pain.
In “Brave New World” people are controlled by inflicting pleasure.
In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us.
Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

What are you doing to make sure that your students are neither “drowning in a sea of irrelevance” or becoming “a captive culture”? In many regards, it is already happening – and not just with the younger. I see this as a more urgent call than that of new standards, new accountability measures, new assessment tools, or new curriculum.

This weekend Educon 2.5 is being held once again at the Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in Philadelphia, let by principal Chris Lehmann and a group of dedicated and passionate teachers. One of SLA’s driving questions is “What Does It Mean to Lead?” I love that. Having been to many annual Educon gatherings now, I am continually impressed by the service/leadership qualities observable in both faculty and students. In as much as technology use is a central component of how all learn at SLA, it is also evident that students are being equipped to withstand the cultural and social pressures of those very things that Neil Postman admonishes us of.

I’m impressed with the number of conversations that will be happening this weekend that focus on meaning, relevance, leadership, and the challenging of the status quo and the competitive, profit-hungry thinking that has gripped the education fabric of our nation.

What does it mean to lead?

“Do you want to spend your next decade developing more digital distractions to amuse people while they stand in line at Starbuck’s, or do you want to take the human race to the next plateau?

Your call.”

[Chris Lehmann just blogged about this year’s EduCon here. It’s worth reading.]


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