This post is written by Fishburner, Jesse Black (Teacher Time)
When Marc Andreessen speaks, most people listen. As the co-founder of netscape he seems to have an uncanny ability to sense trends and changes in the technology space. In a recent interview he raised three areas that are ready for disruption: education, health and finance.
As a primary school teacher I resonate deeply with the sentiment that education is ready for a change. In fact it seems to be the popular topic these days: investment in the education space has increased 30-fold since 2005, almost all of which has happened since the launch of the ipad in 2010. Ken Robinson’s TED Talk is the most viewed talk in 2012 so far. And he didn’t even have slides or technology to show.
Instead he shared a heartfelt vision that educators around the world are rallying to: we as a society desperately need to support the creative student.
I share the vision of Ken & Marc, but it was the day-to-day pain of interfacing my professional life with outdated technology that drove me to quit my teaching job and build a better tool, Teacher Time.
But where to start? Everyone has a stake in education, and therefore everyone has an entitled opinion. If you talk to 10 different people, you will get 11 different mandatory changes that need to be made asap. I chose to start with the one that would make the most impact in the lives of our next Marc Andreessens and Ken Robinsons: the teachers.
You see there is a pervasive and terrible myth that surrounds the word ‘teacher’. People conjure images of tired, underpaid and overworked individuals who are dead inside, beaten down by decades of student/parent conflict.
However I’ve spent the past eight years teaching in three countries across every single grade level and in multiple subjects. And I can say with absolute confidence that this type of teacher is just that: a myth.
I’ll show you teachers who are more passionate about their jobs than anyone you’ve ever met or will meet. I’ll show you teachers who go to unbelievable lengths to ensure their students succeed; teachers from schools which have nothing to schools which have everything. You see this is what the research has shown but the media and government has refused to accept: the teacher is the number one factor in a child’s educational success, not more funding or better equipment. In fact, a great teacher will excel their student the equivalent of two or three years under the care of a ‘normal’ teacher.
So I’ve chosen to start with the educator, and fix the problem that hamstrings us daily: “How do I find quality resources online from other teachers?” We give them the space to share, and then we give them the context to share it in: the Online Daybook. These tools empower teachers to spend less time planning and more time doing what they love: teaching.