Friday, December 4, 2009

The unique value of Print in formal education is about compliance. A culture of compliance is step one.

Most of the conversation about improving high school education is about content, curriculum and the role of teachers. What is under appreciated is that without a safe orderly school culture none of these issues make much of a difference.

The explanation of a disorderly school culture is now finally changing from "blame the customer."In the world of education at the bottom of the pyramid in the States this most often manifests as the "these students come from dysfunctional ..." Or "these students have learning disabilities." While it is true that some very small percentage of students have medically derived learning disabilities, most of those diagnosed as such do not.

At the middle and top of the pyramid the problem most usually presents as drug or alcohol use. Again there are a very small percentage of students who have significant problems. But the fact is that most are kids who get into trouble when they are bored. If they are not identified very early, the cascade of bad decisions get them into very bad situations.

As in medicine so it is in education. The most sustainable, fastest and least expensive solution is early detection. As a culture of compliance builds, it is easier and easier to have the time for early detection of going forward sub optimal paths.

That's where print connected to the web comes in.

3 tweets
For the role of Print in edtech see min 3:53 of this vid. "we will have an Ipod Use contract that goes to parents."

Only Print (and TV) mediums enable shared communication events. For compliance in K -12 the act of signing a document creates culture.

When print is connected to the web with 2d codes that can be clicked with a cell phone, it can emit behavioral data for early interventions.

The Medium is the Message
The way I read McCluhan is that the medium creates an experience separate from the content communicated in the medium. The experience of signing a contract on iPod use in the classroom creates the shared experience of parent and child that says "I agree to these rules. And you (the kid) know that I expect these rules to be followed."

When the person with less power in a situation knows that the person with power expects something to happen AND has a piece of paper that will exist and can be easily referred to in the future, it's the first step to creating a culture of compliance.

The second step is to create the plausible expectation that failure to comply will be seen in very close to real time. That's where print connected to the web through 2d codes comes in. The very first signs of non compliance in attendance or homework compliance can trigger just the right intervention, early enough to make a difference without heroic efforts.

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