I admit I can be a bit of a cynic. Here are a few photos I’ve taken the past few weeks, with a few ideas of what the implications or logical conclusions of these photographed declaratory statements might be… along with a few “more positive” images and messages!

Start teaching again

So teachers and administrators need to purchase this product so they can “start teaching again?” If that is true, or could be true, how would the authors of this marketing advertisement describe the activities which are taking place NOW in the classroom, WITHOUT the benefit of this great product which can purportedly restore, single-handedly, the opportunity to “start teaching?”

I really thought that was an advertisement laden with assumptions and contentions, which may or may not be defensible.

Be Nice or Go Away

I love this sign. I saw this in a school district’s instructional technology office recently. Great advice, in a short and sweet format.

Achieving Perfection

“Achieving perfection?” This was an article from October 31st about one of the wealthiest school districts in our state. Certainly the students and teachers there are working hard inside and outside of school, but I think this headline is hyperbole. PERFECTION? The article is about a school which, for the third year in a row, maxed out the state’s mandatory assessment test. Did this test reflect student creativity or problem solving skills? Did this test reflect digital literacy skills? Media literacy? Any type of digital information literacy at all? Of course not. Yet the author of this article is calling that performance PERFECTION?!

Here are some alternative headlines which might have been more appropriate:

  • TEST SCORES PROVE AGAIN THAT WEALTHY KIDS OUTPERFORM POOR KIDS (AS A GENERAL RULE) ON STANDARDIZED MEASUREMENTS!
  • MINIMUM STANDARDS REACHED AGAIN – IT’S TIME FOR DANCING IN THE STREETS!
  • WE’RE PERFECTLY PREPARING STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS IN THE 19TH CENTURY – NO DIGITAL TOOL USE NEEDED FOR OUR KIDS!

Please note I am NOT writing these comments as a specific “dig” or criticism at the school district highlighted in this article. Rather, I’m being critical of the headline, the perceptions and assumptions it conveys, and the general idea that standardized test score performance is the highest value in public education today. Ugh. Headlines like these make me ill.

Special time with Ms. Bouska

On a much more positive note, I thought this was a superbly thoughtful and fun idea for a preschool silent auction. If your child loved this teacher last year or loves her this year in school, how wonderful would it be for her to come at bedtime with cookies to read and tuck in your child? That was one of the prizes at this preschool’s silent auction. Talk about a creative, special gift!

Lance Ford at ODLA

You can’t tell from this photo that Lance Ford is SUPER passionate about helping students create content (in this case podcasts) and safely collaborate with other learners around the planet via videoconferencing, can you?! My text notes from Lance’s great session at ODLA last week are online, and I’ll be publishing an audio recording of his session as a podcast later this week.

Photographs can convey a great deal which words may or may not accurately capture. Consider using some photographs like these this week with your students to discuss the messages which are OVERT and those which are COVERT or not as directly stated, but might be logical given the content and context of what’s in the image.

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2 Responses to Overt and covert messages in signs

  1. Great post, Wes. If it were social acceptable, I would literally be ROTFL.

    DD

  2. Leslie Schmitz says:

    I was drawn to this photo (the newspaper headline) and its story because my C&I 212 group project topic was indeed No Child Left Behind. As I prepare to present our digital story to the class tomorrow, I am again reminded that many of the topics covered by standardized tests reflect a very narrow view of what is important in an education. If perfection in this case means that students have learned how to prepare for standardized tests, then yes, I would say that they had performed quite well. I agree with your assertion that this is not enough. If the purpose of public education is to prepare students to function and communicate effectively within our society, we must incorporate more technology into lessons, because it is through present and future technological tools that people will communicate in almost any career choice. In order to be able to obtain a higher-paying job, students will need to familiarize themselves with a number of technological tools, as well as keep an open mind to learning how to use more technological and communication tools as they are developed. Educators will need to find a greater balance between usable knowledge and pertinent test material in order to cultivate well-prepared students. Thanks for including these photos and your comments.

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