Stanford on iTunes

You have to admire the institutions that are tyring to integrate or supplant old methods with new technology. Some examples include Stanford's iTunes storefront (free content), the no textbook school in Tucson, and Duke's support of iPods and podcasting.

One of the lectures you can find at Stanford's iTunes store is by Denise Clark Pope, a lecturer in the School of Education. She's the author of Doing School: How we are creating a generation of stressed-out, materialistic, miseducated students. For the book, she shadowed five students with various backgrounds for a year. In time they confided in her and shared sobering stories of their hectic high school life. None really had an interest in what was being taught; rather, they robotically "did school", playing it like a game. Many of the most successful students were widespread cheaters and were able to get points back on tests simply because they were more buddy-buddy with the teacher. They work hard, no doubt, but more in the interest of checking off all the right boxes in order to look excellent for colleges. The talk is pretty much an intro to the main ideas of the book, but it sounds interesting and I think I've seen a lot of what she talks about first-hand.

Of course, as Michelle points out, the sort of stressing-out that students are doing, the networking and hacks they're pulling, are skills that do matter in the workplace. It's just that in terms of learning and being able to actually innovate the kids fall behind.

That said, I've got a pile of homework that I'm not particularly interested in waiting for me.