Well … we had a good look at the Edu Tech Developers Guide and the extensive website. We can see that the Innovation Clusters are modeled after tech/entrepreneur start ups but . . . this cannot be done for free. Top-level creative talent should not be asked to work for free. And that is what is truly missing in educational products aimed at the public school market. The life and spark of the creative mind, which will engage the students of today and tomorrow and inspire them to achieve and excel. Here’s a suggestion: if our country’s priority is to invest in the education and achievement of our young people, why not take a page out of the military technology book? I just watched the (appalling, but that’s another story — all male, almost 100% military tech) show about “American Geniuses” — Robert Oppenheimer vs. Werner Heisenberg. The show told the story of how Brigadier General Lesley Groves recruited Oppenheimer to head the Manhattan Project, because Oppenheimer was able to concisely state the three barriers to producing an atomic bomb. Oppenheimer, Breit, Manley, Serber, Bethe, Teller and the others were not asked to work for free. Some team members (1963 Nobel Laureate Maria Goeppert-Mayer) did work for very low pay.
It’s time that these matters be taken seriously and it wouldn’t hurt to look at the end customers in the process. They are students, teachers and parents. In a larger sense, our entire society.
Having recently watched both the National Spelling and Geographic Bees, I think it’s fair to state that today’s top students are excelling beyond the abilities of students in previous generations. I do not have a means to evaluate, but my sense is that students with different learning abilities are also excelling beyond those with different abilities in the past. That leaves everybody else. That leaves the unchallenged, unengaged students who don’t know what it is they could be good at, who lack practice in using the vast array of technology we have for the benefit of their cognitive, emotional and social development. That does still leave our teachers alone in their classrooms, barriers between them and students, them and parents, them and administrators.
And I do know: if we have a genuine commitment to revolutionize learning and the classroom and support this incredible system that has, in fact, changed the world — the system that makes it possible for me to type what I am here today in the way I am doing it — it cannot be done for free. One missing element in our educational system and process isn’t just app or game development, it’s creative spark, vision and talent. The money isn’t there and there is no incentive, even as much as every single creative artist, producer, musician, designer and writer out there would love to reach children and help our educational system, supporting teachers, students, parents and the community as a whole.
Now I will use some harsh words, though I wholeheartedly support your efforts. If you find someone with cash to develop something and allow them to do this, they would not be doing this out of the “goodness of their hearts” but a desire to make money, and possibly, a desire to socially engineer kids. And to date, there has been little to nothing developed in the educational market that provides even adequate pay to creators, much less appropriate, fair and decent pay, benefits or any type of job security. As teachers advocate for better pay (of course they should receive more), retirement benefits, and health benefits, these products they use are made by indentured servants engaged by corporations that exploit. With such a process, how could one expect results that will truly serve our students and teachers?
I hope I have made myself crystal-clear.