Google conference, day 1

Eric Schmidt opened an education conference held at Google headquarters. He noted that kids often ahead of their teachers on the tech front and that it’s ridiculous to memorize stuff when you could ask for favorite search engine.   His hope for the conference was that we could forge a consensus around new form of education that will take advantage of the new tools available
Undersecretary Martha Kanter gave a status report on American education and laid out the presidents goal of regaining global leadership in college completion.
Tech leader Mitch Kapor said tech won’t fix failing schools but that 2010 would be a seachange year when new platforms will emerge (including one that he and Ram Shriram are investing in).
Linda Darling Hammond criticized NCLB and related policies as reflective of 19th century policy and called for a 21st policy framework (noting that TX had sunsetted its ed code and that other states should do the same).
Joel Klein was the opening panel highlight; he described School of One and the need to professionalize teaching.
Goeff Canada closed out the evening by asking if technology was going to close or widen the achievement gap.  He suggested that it may only if we start early and create similar learning experiences.  If not, kids would not reach their full potential.
The online discussion moderator that google introduced was cool, but overall the opening session failed to create a compelling and coherent vision for the future of education.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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