May 25, 2014

Sold

It's embarrassing, the number of tabs I have open at any given time and on multiple computers. I have browser extensions that allow me to compare two tabs, group tabs into collections for using later, save pages for reading later, share pages I've already read...the list goes on. Today, I had multiple windows open, each with a row of tabs that were so small, the favicons didn't even show. I follow any number of edtech curated lists and groups (I won't even talk about the freeway system that is my gmail inbox) and furiously spend my time scanning, right-clicking, and opening new tabs. A few hours ago, I found myself just a little burnt (it is May) and overwhelmed with all of the tabs, so I just started skimming. Instead of ideas, connections, and new learning tangents, I found myself occupied with patterns of words.

You see, the day started with a nice little Google+ exchange about the balance between old and new ways. On the heels of having watched the decade-old BBC documentary series "The Century of the Self", and reading a terribly depressing op-ed piece on the direction/derelict of American intellect. So, like the first time I learned about the dangers of high-fructose/hydrogenated anything and began reading every ingredients label I could, I'm currently finding myself taking my edtech consumption a tad less encouragingly...and mainly, it's because of relatively consistent language patterns. I skimmed through the open tabs I had on my windows and found this laundry list of language. What do these words mean to you?

...kids enjoy...
...are everywhere...
...everyone has...
...most kids use...
...parents want...
...is/are boring...
...is/are exciting...
...the best way...
...trending...
...captivating...
...love to share...
...is amazing...
...engagement/engaging...
...21st century...
...growing in popularity...
...even more true now...
...become meaningful...
...can be successful...
...extend learning...
...make life easier...
...interactive...
...can change the world...
...personalize...
...transformational...
...slick new...
...great little gadget...

To me, this is marketing language. Not education. Without a foray into the 'many hats a teacher wears' metaphor, I ask, "What are we selling and why does it need to be marketed?"