The Iranians appear to have captured a U.S. intelligence drone aircraft and now claim they have finished a data extraction and are now in the process of reverse-engineering its capabilities.

What if they captured a school and tried to reverse engine our education system?

For starters, if they did a data extraction, our kids would be safe because they wouldn’t find much data on them.

About knowledge, they would find it broken up into artificial subjects sequenced in odd ways (e.g., geometry sandwiched between two chunks of algebra).

The Iranians would puzzle at why Americans have the sciences backwards with Physics at the end (and out of reach of most students).

They would have to presume that we believe age cohorts learned the same way and same time.

The would wonder at the infantilization of teenagers marched from classroom to classroom in 50 minute intervals.

They would assume that we had concluded that none of the cell phones that students bring to school could be utilized in the learning process and that computers should be kept turned off in the back of the room.

The outcome wouldn’t be much better if they tried to reverse-engineered a college, but at least they’d find most students learning online.  They might conclude we were on to something there.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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