Monday, June 11, 2012

Are teachers keeping students prisoners of their past?

For today’s youth life outside of school is a fast-paced, connected environment where students have the freedom to learn in the spaces and with the tools they love. Once inside school walls however, in many cases digital devices are banned, collaborating is viewed as cheating, and students are often prohibited from accessing the very sites that are necessary for real-world success. 

I will be speaking to the panel of students listed below to address this topic at the upcoming #140edu conference which is only $1.40 for educators! Apply here. These tech-savvy young people are devoted to education reform and they all are aware that technology plays an important role in this.

My question to the innovative educators, parents, and students reading this is what questions should I ask the students to get great answers? I have some ideas, but I'm interested in incorporating your thoughts too. 

Nikhil Goyal | Syosset High School Junior

Nikhil Goyal is a 17-year-old student at Syosset High School in New York, United States. He wrote a book: All Hands on Deck: Why America Needs a Learning Revolution to be published in September 2012 by Alternative Education Resource Organization. Goyal has been featured in the New York Times, Seth Godin’s Blog, NBC, Edutopia, and Huffington Post. He has contributed three Letters to the Editor for the New York Times. In addition, he has spoken at conferences around the world from Qatar, Spain, and the United States. Goyal is starting a Learning Revolution movement to transform the American education system to assure that no child will ever be suppressed by our schools.
Twitter:  @TalkPolitical

Lucia Grigoli | Newton North High School Senior

Lucia is a senior at Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts. She serves on her school's Student-Faculty Administration, where she introduced a bill to utilize social media in school for educational purposes.

In addition to her work on the local level, Lucia is a national advocate for student voice. She helps lead a national initiative to give students a voice in their own education, in addition to being a board member at both the I.M.P.A.C.T Academy for Youth and the National Young Women’s Council.
Twitter: @luciagrigoli

Matthew Resnick  | Eleanor Roosevelt High School Junior

Matthew Resnick is a student at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in New York, New York. His interest in education policy and technique began in his own school, where as an appointed member of the School Leadership Team he advocated for the integration of current events in the school curriculum, and as a member of the school’s iPad committee he works with teachers and the principal to implement the use of Apple iPads in the classroom. Matthew continues to collaborate with students, teachers, and administrators in his school to take full advantage of the digital age.

Matthew’s involvement is not limited to his school. He is also a volunteer at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Since he began contributing to
The Huffington Post, he has had increased contact with students and educators to share his experience and insight in education policy and technique. He recently founded The Student Lens, an organization created to educate and empower New York City high school students by informing them about important events in education policy and reform, and by enabling students to share their voices. In order to improve the American education system, changes must occur which engage students and encourage them to learn. The emerging platforms and availability of information must be taken advantage of - this is the age we are growing up in, and the education system must keep up in order to give students the best education possible.
Twitter: @MatthewAResnick

Nick Perez | Software developer / High School Drop Out

Nick is a software developer based in Brooklyn, NY. After years of skipping class to learn independently, he dropped out of high-school in 2006. For over five years, he has worked with small businesses and tech startups, utilizing expertise gained almost exclusively through the use of technology. A series of discussions with teachers and school administrators has recently renewed his interest in addressing and attempting to solve the problems that destroyed his faith in schooling.
Twitter: @nickperez

Allison Wu | Newton North High School Senior

Allison Wu is a senior at Newton North High School in Massachusetts. She is passionate about youth social entrepreneurship and advocates for youth voice in policymaking and education. Her focus this summer is the creation of a Presidential Youth Council, to ensure young people are represented in government. She also works to give students a voice in education reform by collaborating with reform leaders, engaging students nationwide in a dialogue to improve education, and enabling them to share their opinions on education at local, state, and national levels.

From leadership roles in student government, Allison has witnessed and propagated a cultural shift within her school as it integrated new technologies into teaching and learning, and she believes that all students deserve the benefits of these advances. In fact, she is currently exploring how technology can narrow the achievement gap in her school district. Viewing technology as a platform by which students are empowered to “learn by doing,” Allison believes that it has endless potential to activate students and be a tool for positive change. As a leader of a youth-run 501(c)3, a member of the Policy Council of the National Youth Association, a member of DoSomething’s Youth Advisory Council, and part of the team creating a national youth engagement strategy for the government, Allison has both led and participated in efforts to unite and mobilize youth nationwide through technology. These experiences have taught her that learning often happens outside the boundaries of the traditional classroom, but when digital technologies are included in schooling, all students will have these opportunities.
Twitter: @allisonswu


  1. Time and again in comments you claim that you support teachers and then there's crap like this.

    1. Anonymous,
      Oh please. I operate in realities with students as the focus. This is a complaint shared by numerous students using those very words. I've written about several such students on this blog. Fortunately there are some teachers who I've also written about who are doing what they can to change that but right now they are the minority. In the meantime, instead of being prepared for their futures, many students are being prepared for their teacher's past. Young people like those mentioned in this piece are partnering with educators to lead the way in changing that.

  2. Good morning, Anonymous
    I do not see anywhere that Lisa says anything about teachers that does not support teachers in this article. Teachers are only one part of the education system. People can talk of ed-reform for the sake of the students and still be supportive of teachers. I do not see that the two platforms are mutually exclusive.

    1. Did you not read the headline?

    2. The headline need not be interpreted as a suggestion of what teachers actually intend. Teachers are responsible for carrying out policies that they may or may not agree with. Current generations are also growing up with a world of new tech that teachers may or may not be equally adept with. Any teacher with the slightest bit of humility should be asking themselves whether they're keeping up with the ridiculous pace of innovation taking place, and allowing their students to do the same. Maybe the answer is yes. Maybe the answer is no. This is why it's a question and not a statement.

    3. @Nick Perez,
      You are right on the money.

      Thank you.

  3. I think it's great that these students are sharing their stories. Before companies launch a product or new idea, they often use focus groups. If companies want feedback about their products, they ask their consumers (or consumers can leave comments and rate the product or service). Public education does none of this. Students are the ultimate consumers. It's high time we listen to them and give their ideas some credence.