in Education

You need us more than we need you.

I’ve exhorted readers of this blog more than once to subscribe to Dan Meyer’s blog. It’s ostensibly about the teaching of mathematics, but the tangents are just fantastic.

Read the following, taken from a panel session Dan took part in (he’s now a PhD student):

I’m a grad student in my second year and I’ve never shared this with anybody here, least of all my adviser, who’s in attendance, but I don’t understand the incentive structure for what you do and what I may do someday. You write amazing things and you study amazing things and you write them compellingly in journals that are not read by practitioners very often. They affect a lot of policy, which I think is a really good, top-down approach. But then I’m over here and I can post something that’s seen by 10,000 people overnight. That’s the number of subscribers I have to my blog right now. Or any number of these things. So the incentive seems strange to me. Like I don’t understand this brass ring I’m chasing. It seems like a strange prize at the end of a finish line of grad school. So there’s the question and then there’s also the encouragement. You have so many soapboxes available to you. Find a kid like me and ask him how to do a webcast or something. You have so many — and to restrict yourself to peer review, I don’t know. There’s very little upside to me, it seems.

I feel this, and so do many others my age and with similar higher level qualifications.

So what are you (the academy) going to do about it?

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  1. Absolutely! Wise words from Dan.
    I may be wrong, but surely research is about extending ‘what the world knows.?’ If the findings from  studies are hidden away behind restrictive pay-walls in esoteric journals, what effects can they expect to have?
    Is the system self-perpetuating, where movement within academia depends to some extent on what one has ‘published?’ Or is it about ego?

    I started to ponder these things in my modest musings here – http://ianinsheffield.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/deaddissertation/