Pahoa 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.)