Monday, June 29, 2009

NECC Exhibit Hall Rant

The exhibit hall here at NECC defies description. It's in the basement of the Convention Center and runs under both buildings (essentially two blocks). I've been down there twice and accomplished nothing, partly because I'm just too overwhelmed.

However, the other reason I've accomplished nothing is because the great majority of the exhibits are a huge waste of time. Actually, that's an understatement. As an educator I'm offended by the existence of some of these companies. Their core beliefs are 180 degrees from mine. I spent a good five minutes listening to a young man explain one website to me (without blowing up at him because I don't truly blame him). The things he kept saying are clearly the 'selling points' for this product. Things like, "It's so bright and colorful and fun it keeps the kids from realizing they are learning." and "That's a fun little graphic that will keep them interested." God forbid we should make the actual learning interesting!

In addition to that frustration, I felt like the program was basically electronic worksheets. How is that 21st century learning?

It seems to me that so many of these companies are creating electronic worksheets or they are preparing kids for testing or they are trying to make school 'teacher-proof'. I'm not okay with any of those goals. Many companies have learned the right buzz words, but the reality doesn't match their sales talk.

The worst part is that they are clearly making lots of money this way. It makes me so sad (and angry, obviously).

1 comment:

Karen Janowski said...

"It's so bright and colorful and fun it keeps the kids from realizing they are learning."
Wow - what does that say about education if that is a selling point for one of the products at the Necc vendor hall?

Great to meet you f2f, Jenny. I look forward to continually learning from you!