There is a lot of public media attention around #stem (science, technology, engineering, maths). Politicians have been keen to use this to promote the ‘innovative nation’ conception, even announcing the building of ONE school to do it – but evading questions about why aged or burnt down schools are not been addressed. Don’t be fooled, there is a gap between rich and poor, and these days, even private schools have their own gap – some barely cover costs and others charge astronomical fees.
We then have on-going rhetoric about National Curriculum, better teachers and the decline of literacy. Forget that technology has been taught holistically in schools for decades. I mean, no one who ever made anything in workshop encountered electronics, product design, materials, maths, engineering or science … the idiotic view is that #stem is new and going to change the world of education.
Wait, the Technology curriculum still isn’t finished, the Arts curriculum isn’t finished and the Media curriculum doesn’t exist except in the un-appointed and un-verified world of EduCelebs (Yes, it’s a thing that people identify with) – of which 99.9% are not qualified to teach media, art or technology. Ironically, Computing Science was part of Maths and Science, then moved to TAS and since Rudd got all excited about owning his very own laptops, has handed over to any one who can swipe an iPad. So let’s think … why is there a decline in #stem – because STEM isn’t an innovation in response to contemporary technology, it’s an outcome of bad decisions.
So digital literacy is in decline, media literacy ignores games and 95% of what kids do online (which isn’t stable of the same as 5 years ago) in order to support the factional views of the EduCelebs who love their 3D printers and Geek-brands and the hater/agnostics who either see EdTech for what it has become, or just can’t be arsed to do more than dot-points, hand out photocopies of text books or go to conferences which tell them to step up.
Here’s some news – art teachers produce 99.9% of all their own resources and technology teachers are filling their car’s with stuff at Bunnings, using their own tools and wondering WTF is going on … why do administrators believe that we’re somehow doing LESS work or have ‘old’ skills and experience? Perhaps we’re all assumed to be irrelevant now, LESS valuable at a time where junk-culture rules – and we genuinely do ‘that face’ then another expert tells us that a ‘cool’ project is to 3D print a foot for a landmine victim. Hang on, we’re just sweeping up these wood shavings, sorry to be so ancient.
Yes we need to teach computing, yes we need equipment – but we also need good equipment, sustainable funding and the agency to do it. This isn’t new. Administrators used to have ‘computer labs’ – places where we had robotics and stuff. That was pulled down to create some crappy-recyled-tinyhouse-loving maker-space. What TAS, Media/Art Teachers are getting pissed off about (experience daily) — is that they remain underfunded and not even part of the new National Agenda … but then we just finger paint and build wooden pencil cases while driving our Utes with peace stickers on the back. Nothing cool about that. No go to the store, see how much tools and art materials cost and ask, why is this not being funded? – Same reason as ever – were raising consumers not craftsmen.