Thursday, October 25, 2012

Supply and Demand and Content

Content is readily available.  There is no shortage of content.  The availability of content determines its face value, and for most people, content is too available to make paying a high price for it seem unreasonable.  This price may not necessarily be in hard currency, but in opportunity costs, time, labor, etc.  This is the reality of the connected/sharing economy that exists today.

What is less readily available are enchanting, relevant, personal, and social experiences that enhance learning, understanding, and application of content.  The value of these experiences are high because they are in demand.  These experiences are often ignored (at the least severely undervalued) in the test score driven, standardization culture that exists in many schools.

This is a significant part of why, I believe, many people are frustrated with the educational system as it currently exists.  They thirst for the connections we all desire, to share experiences, and find our place to contribute in a world that asks us all to contribute.  However, to satisfy these needs, they are asked to place a disproportionate amount of value on the objective measures of a non-personal relationship with a standardized test.

Even the best dieter will admit that moderation is the key to success.  I think the same may apply to testing in schools.  Committing to moderation and seeking balance is important factors to improvement and success.  There is some value in measuring results up against some outside metric for comparison.  However, there is as much value in seeking opportunities to dare to do something different (if not better).

If what we value the most in schools are the very things that are rapidly losing value in the social marketplace and if schools place too little value on the commodities that the social marketplace is demanding, then it shouldn't come as a surprise when society gets frustrated.
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