I look forward to the many daily email posts delivered to my inbox. I save many of the posts to savor with coffee, wine, and/or chocolate. Below are blog posts received this past week that have given me reason to pause and ponder…
The author, gwinridenhour, correctly says that we need to consider cultural differences in any discussions that compare education systems. One of the best ways to compare is to look at the work of Geert Hofstede who surveyed IBM employees in 170+ different countries. You can see his cultural considerations as well as Finland’s rating at http://geert-hofstede.com/finland.html.
If you compare the Finnish “scores” on Hofstede’s scale to the scores of the US, two things stick out. First, the US is far more individualistic. We believe an unspoken “truth” (Hofstede calls it “software of the mind” – or the way we are programmed) to believe that the individual can “pull him/herself up by the bootstraps.” Finland, in contrast, is more collective. They would be less likely to say that any problems in education rest in the student…or the teacher…or the parent. Raising children is a collective effort.
The other comparison that sticks out is the “masculinity/femininity” scale. This scale is NOT about gender, but in the tendency to be driven by (or not driven by) competition, achievement and success. America is a highly competitive society and we look for comparative measures such as standardized tests. Finland’s scale scores indicate that free time and flexibility are greater incentives than “success”.
The Finnish school system reflects its society values. So does the American system. The Finnish system, in its full form, would make many Americans uncomfortable. Isn’t it interesting that Americans (myself included) call the system “good” based on measures that we value far more highly than they do?
I’d like to use James’s writing as an example to my students. How can they describe their ever-changing surroundings to readers who have never visited such places? How can they describe what seems so “normal” to them but is beyond comprehension to those who grew up in a single country?
I’ve pinned one of James’s articles, The TCK Barrier Between Parent and Child, to share with parents of my students.
eClassroom News included an article on teaching with Infographics. The article included a link to Over 100 Infographic Resource Links. Having 25% battery left as I sipped Chardonnay at a local cafe, I pinned sites that would help students create infographics, and pinned infographics that related to units of study. I ended up signing up for the Daily Infographic – they are just cool.
I continue to think it is more valuable for teachers to focus on core subject objectives than focus on the tools used to communication, collaboration, and create. However, John Spencer rightly says that we often don’t take full adventure of platforms.
So now I’m wondering if, perhaps, the best way to help students (and me) make the best use of tech is to give them intentional time to “show off.” Open source works because programmers take pride in their work – and enjoy showing off their skills. I want people to show me more cool stuff. I suspect my students want to see more cool stuff too.
Platforms really can do amazing things.
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