This weeks debate was a bit of a mix up between two different debate topics. Emily and Brian were the debaters; however, there was a miscommunication and they both presented different topics. Although the topics presented were different, they did seem to align well with each other and in the end, it ended up being a great debate. The debate topics for this week were:
Public education has sold its soul to corporate interests in what amounts to a Faustian bargain: Agree or disagree?
Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids: Agree or disagree?
As you can see, the two debate topics are different, however, they intertwine with each other wonderfully.
Emily’s debate was the one on the Faustian bargain, which is a term I have never heard of before. Emily did a great job at explaining what the Faustian bargain was, and it really got me thinking of myself as a future teacher and what I want to implement in my classroom. One thing I noted from this argument is that it is important to understand what you are signing up for when implementing something in your classroom or even in your school. As mentioned in this article, Google is a corporate name that is just as common as pencil and erasers, and it is being used daily in classrooms. So many schools have laptops, computers, and iPads sitting around waiting for students to use, and the programs offered by Google are constantly being used. This article states, “Google is also tracking what those students are doing on its services and using some of that information to sell targeted ads”, which one of the negative repercussions that can emerge from using technology in the classroom.
Another thing I noted from Emily’s argument is that standardized testing is horrible. I have always despised standardized testing when I was in high school, and now as a teacher, I continue to despise it. Personally, I think standardized tests are designed to limit the creativity of teachers, and to limit to success of the students. I remember during my first year of university, it was midterm season and I was about to write a midterm for a class. I got into the class and the midterm was 100 multiple choice, and the answers were to be filled in on a bubble sheet. I was furious. I have always been someone who writes in the margins if I don’t feel like my teacher will understand why I chose A on a multiple choice test; however, when I had to fill in a bubble sheet, I realized I couldn’t write in the margins to express my thoughts. This, among many others, is a reason why I despise standardized tests. This article lists another 15 reasons why standardized tests are horrible, and I agree with each one of them.
Brian’s debate topic was one that I completely agree with. I think that being open with sharing in schools is extremely important and it can greatly benefit the students. Brian listed an article that discusses the benefits of sharing students work online, and I couldn’t agree more with them. One thing that Brian stated in his debate topic was that sharing students work online allows the student to take responsibility of their work, and in turn, the student reevaluates their work as time goes on. Since it is constantly being viewed by people, the student feels as if they need to put in their best efforts. If the work was being handed in directly to the teacher, then directly back to the student, that student might not put in as much effort as they would if their work was being shared with the world. I have always been a strong advocate for sharing ideas and collaborating with others , and with the use of technology, it is always possible to do that. Students can share their work and collaborate with other students, and teachers can do the same with other teachers. I believe that through openness and sharing, our schools can become a better and more collaborative place.
These two debate topics intertwine with each other because Emily discussed how schools are being sold out to corporate interests due to technology, and Brian discussed how technology can benefit students in the classroom and in the online world in so many ways. I first thought this weeks debate was going to be a mess, but it ended up being a great mix.