Weasels Pimped My Kid …She’s goin’ to Harvard!

education-imagePahoa High & Intermediate School (Hawaii), as one of the thirty first-prize schools “winning” Samsung’s fifth-annual Hope for Education essay contest, will receive more than $60,000 in technology, software, cash grants and educational television programming packages. Samsung (with Microsoft Corporation and DIRECTV) posed the question, “How has technology educated you on helping the environment and how or why has it changed your behavior to be more environmentally friendly?” As of this posting, the actual content of the winning essays is unavailable, however the take of these “good corporate citizens” is available at: BusinessWire.com, a Berkshire Hathaway Company.

If I have to see another seven year-old child gleefully smiling at a computer screen, I think I’m gonna puke.

You know what? Kids mostly only smile like imbeciles at computer screens when “educators” come around looking for photographic opportunities. (They’re the ones holding the reigns of power, so the kid smiles away and it’s positively reinforced by the “educator.”)

Sure, your child might smile if Granny is on the screen, or in front of some other digital simulation of family, friendship, or community. But why doesn’t any one ever publish that: “this is so friggen’ oppressive, I feel like I’m dead!” -photo? You know the paralyzed childhood-one I’m talking about?  Or maybe the, Mom and Dad are at such a loss to get their bills paid, that Johnny can just watch the “educational” screen – that’s good for him, right? -photo.

“Helping deliver technology in pursuit of better education”, as a concerned South Korean, nay global, technology producer so proudly states, on its “Hope for Education” campaign website, gets right to the heart of the matter. Take a hard look at those slogans and what do you think they mean? Learning? Consumption?

I think it’s voodoo of the most nefarious kind.

Don’t get me wrong. I use this digital technology most every day. Nor would I give up the days that I take a healthful break from it – although I suppose you could say we all use it every day in more peripheral ways. And yes, I think young learners might benefit from appropriate uses of technology.

The point is that “Hope for Education” and these other slogans are largely bullshit.

Bullshit, in and of itself, is just part of life – we’re not going to suddenly have a bullshit-less world. I’m not even sure we’d want that world if we could have it. (I, for one, would suddenly have even less opportunity for conversation.) However, as a community, we had better get clear on the bullshit-factor of questions like – “How has technology educated you on helping the environment and how or why has it changed your behavior to be more environmentally friendly?” (as asked of our children by said corporation) Give me a frikken’ break! Are we, as a community, to take it as a given that, “technology educates us on helping the environment” and that, “it has changed our behaviour to be more environmentally friendly”?

We certainly shouldn’t be pimping such schizophrenic and manipulative notions to our children.

How about this question for the next student essay contest: “Who should be most involved in children’s learning? family and community; or Samsung, Microsoft Corporation, and DIRECTV”

(Then again, if one of these fine upstanding corporations is willing to donate 60 grand, or one of those dandy high-def. televisions to my..organization, I too might be swayed to pipe a different tune.)

2 thoughts on “Weasels Pimped My Kid …She’s goin’ to Harvard!

  1. I’ve got a different view.

    In High School, the most important class I took was keyboarding/typing on one of those old typewriters with changeable ribbon where you pecked on the keyboards and occasionally would have to stop to unstick the keys.

    No one really understood the value of that class… except for me at the time.

    Learning how to type was so important because once I passed High School, college would only accept type written papers.

    I made a killing off other students who couldn’t type just typing out there handwritten papers.

    Now my 4 year old son not only has his own email, he has his own website and is learning basic computer programming!

    What does he want for christmas? His own computer!

    Guess what… you can ask anyone that has met my son, that he is the most polite, sincere, nice, and well educated 4 year old that one has ever met…. and yes I’m biased… but ask those that know me…and my son… I’m not hard to find… nor is my son ;)

  2. I think typing is a worthwhile skill too.

    You determining your son’s computer usage is one thing. (Btw, does he use one at school too?)

    My comments are more of an observation that corporations tend to manipulate learning to further their market-share. That particular essay contest was worthy of further analysis, in my opinion. Teachers and students certainly shouldn’t be accepting such absurd rhetoric as that quoted from the Samsung website.

    And I’m sincere when I say congratulations on their ‘winning’ some tech-stuff at the school. An ongoing policy theme of Island Notes probably goes something like, “corporate interests, and community concerns are usually quite different and these corporate interests are much more invasive (organized, if you like) such that we as a community need to discuss these things, lest we let corporations determine how we live.”

    It’s high time I get down to lower puna and hope to meet up sometime. (I seem to get only as far as Maku’u market these days.)

    Thanks for sharing your view.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s