Thursday, March 15, 2012

GED Classes on the Moon

This is a kick in the pants for adult education.  Whether you think we need it or not, please listen up.  This post should provoke some questions that require a larger discussion, and that will hopefully start with your comments.  
  • Is the new GED test going to force us to innovate our instruction and delivery of services?
  • Shouldn't we be innovating anyway? 
  • What are the economic incentives for embracing technology? New markets, new funding streams, and an updating of the adult education brand?
  • With our objections, are we protecting our learners' interests, or are we afraid of the responsibility that comes with uprooting our routines and ushering in a renaissance? 
In this 2 minute YouTube clip, we see a dichotomy: two very different attitudes towards technology and innovation, not unlike the ongoing push/pull adult education experiences around the same topic.  Have a listen to Maher vs. Tyson, as well as my take on the matter, and weigh in with your perspective. 


Since the clip has been removed from YouTube, the astrophysicist said of the 60s:
[the space program] transformed the culture in the USA in that decade to be one of innovation and discovery. And when you have that as part of your culture, you innovate. And when you innovate, you are responsible for birthing entire new economies that drive your nation's wealth.
Doesn't that sound good to you? Entire new economies that drive adult education's future? 

Now for my second attempt at creating a slidecast using Audacity, Google Docs, and  I try to make up for my audio deficiencies with visual jokes, and when all else fails, break into song. Again, please share this discussion kickstarter and add your response to Mr. Tyson's call to action as you see it applying to adult education.

If the slidecast doesn't load, that just means other people are watching it, and Slideshare's servers are overloaded. Refresh the page and cross your fingers.

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Update: Here's an even better Neil Degrasse Tyson clip about innovation's role in developing new markets and new economies, but it also gets into the need for math and science literacy. A great message for educators, for sure!


  1. Very cool, Jason. As they say,"Crisis is opportunity."

    1. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Inspiration can be sparked by all kinds of motivators.

  2. I love what you are doing with this site. I am into adult education for about one year now and came from secondary. I am learning while I teach! I currently teach online GED and ABE. I am exploring ways to add the Career Pathways idea into our existing program. Any ideas?

    Barbie Nall

    1. Barbie,
      Your perspective is going to be crucial here. Being new means not being jaded. The things I tried with my GED class of 16-17 year olds in the year 2000. I didn't know that expecting weekly online work was out of the norm.

      Your Career Pathways question is such a good topic for another blog entry, partly because what topic would adult learners be more motivated to prioritize outside the classroom? I want to turn this over to our readers while I do some digging (I'm going to ask Twitter and Google ;).

    2. Barbie,
      Can you say anything further about your existing program? I'm guessing you want to integrate Career Pathways into your online or distance ed services? My first thought is somewhat in line with what you already see from Work Keys and the Career Readiness Certificate. Online curricula can easily align to meet different content standards. Is there any reason why the skills relevant to each of the Career Pathways couldn't be developed into an alignment that teachers could assign to learners who are on a specific career path? Maybe some already do... I don't guess most curricula would be able to address every necessary skill for a job nor result in an official certification, but that initial online work would be a step in the right direction.

  3. I find distance education quite useful in some cases. It is possible to save travel time and one doesn’t even waste much of lectures as well. I am even planning to start my LSAT preparation online. It will be easy and I will be able to practice more like this.


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