Alfred Spector, a vice president for research and special initiatives at Google made some interesting comments at a recent conference in Washington DC on American competitiveness and, later, published in The Washington Post special section “Competitive America.” Here’s what Spector had to say about education:
Google has about 15,000 engineers and scientists – 4,000 to 5,000 PhDs in engineering. Given that we only graduate about 2,000 PhDs in computer science a year, that’s a very large number. One thing I think the universities need to do better, and they’re trying now, is to motivate more of their students to go into the sciences and technology.
I’d like to see this concept of video games that don’t just teach people to do multiparty strategy but actually teach history or teach language. I’d like to see some of the programs that are used to teach early literacy rolled out around the world because I think they’re highly effective. I think they could be a game changer.
I’d also like to see a collaborative use of social networks in education so that social networks are not merely for social aims but are used for educational aims. [Social networks can] unite the students in class, unite the students with the teachers, and allow students to – as they read together or study together – find the right people to communicate with.
In the same special section, Post writer Valerie Strauss wrote the following piece on US Schools Need for Far-Reaching Reform…
If there is one thing on which most people in the education world agree — and, in fact, there may only be this one thing — it is that American schools must modernize for this high-tech, globally competitive century. Schools designed to educate millions of Americans in the 1900s remain stuck in 20th-century design, curriculum and assessment.
As the world changes at ever-increasing speed, too many Americans are unprepared to function well in a knowledge-based economy that requires of its workers complex ways of thinking as well as strong collaboration and communications skills. Vocational education, long devalued, is only now gaining new traction amid shortages in skilled employees. By one estimate, there are 600,000 openings in manufacturing alone because of a dearth of skilled workers.
This is why President Obama called on Congress this month to support a plan in his newly released 2013 budget to create an $8 billion fund to train 2 million community college students for jobs in high-growth industries such as health care, transportation and advanced manufacturing…..
Obama’s goals include: Financial Literacy, Civic Literacy, Smart Technology, Early Education, Teacher Training,
Click here for rest of story.
Wired Academic Managing Editor Paul Glader wrote the following piece as a cover story for the special section as well:
To Europeans, America is a puzzling economic giant