Reconsideration

Reflecting on my post about the droll speaking style of a scientist who lectured a group of student researchers last week, I realize that I was more than a bit harsh. My words were hasty and venom-filled, and for this I feel the need to apologize. Public speaking is a skill that takes time to cultivate, and there is no doubt that the man whose speech I criticized is incredibly accomplished. Just because he didn’t hold my interest for an hour doesn’t mean that he isn’t a valuable educator.

In our era of instant feedback, micro-blogging, and status-updating, it’s easy to type away in a flurry of emotion and click the “publish” button without a second thought. I recognize that this is an issue for my generation, and I am not immune to the urge to document thoughts and feelings constantly in the realm of cyberspace. Too often we forget to filter–failing to re-read, synthesize conscientiously, or acknowledge biases.

The reason I didn’t identify with this particular scientist’s lecture is that I couldn’t relate to it. This challenge in educational communication is not unique. Teaching in an interdisciplinary format that appeals to all learners and perspectives is a struggle for all who stand before a room of students, peers, or citizens. It is nearly impossible to reach everyone.

Thinking about the difficulty of appealing to a diverse audience, I am reminded of a video I stumbled upon yesterday. Arguing that technology can revolutionize education the same way that it has revolutionized the entertainment industry (and the way we live our daily lives,) it got me wondering about the landscape of future classrooms–the possibility of an educational sphere where bored students do not exist. Of course, technology alone will not solve the problems of education alone. We need a multi-pronged approach.

Until the day we figure out how to combine solutions and tackle the many connected issues in education, here’s something to consider:

http://ht.ly/c4fIl

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