Why This Blog?

This blog is the repository of materials I use with my students to help them think about what schools and teaching may be like in the future. I will add materials as I find them. If you have suggestions for materials that should be included here, please let me know via Twitter @drjohnhadley or by Email.

I also use these materials to stimulate an ongoing conversation with students and faculty on two questions: How do we determine whether a teacher is "technologically literate"? and Must all teachers be "technologically literate"?

The first question is the result of thinking about the second which was the central issue addressed in a 2007 post by Karl Fisch, author of The Fischbowl and Director of Technology for Arapahoe High School in Littleton, Colorado: "Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?"

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pushing Back on Mediocre Professors

Seth Godin
Pushing back on mediocre professors is reprinted here in its entirety.

College costs a fortune. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of money.

When a professor assigns you to send a blogger a list of vague and inane interview questions ("1. How did you get started in this field? 2. What type of training (education) does this field require? 3. What do you like best about your job? 4. what do you like least about your job?") I think you have an obligation to say, "Sir, I'm going to be in debt for ten years because of this degree. Perhaps you could give us an assignment that actually pushes us to solve interesting problems, overcome our fear or learn something that I could learn in no other way..."

When a professor spends hours in class going over concepts that are clearly covered in the textbook, I think you have an obligation to repeat the part about the debt and say, "perhaps you could assign this as homework and we could have an actual conversation in class..."

When you discover that one class after another has so many people in a giant room watching a tenured professor far far in the distance, perhaps you could mention the debt part to the dean and ask if the class could be on video so you could spend your money on interactions that actually changed your life.

The vast majority of email I get from college students is filled with disgust, disdain and frustration at how backwards the system is. Professors who neither read nor write blogs or current books in their field. Professors who rely on marketing textbooks that are advertising-based, despite the fact that virtually no professional marketers build their careers solely around advertising any longer. And most of all, about professors who treat new ideas or innovative ways of teaching with contempt.

"This is costing me a fortune, prof! Push us! Push yourself!"


  1. Dr. Strange, this is a great post! I really admire a professor who tells it like it really is. College shouldn't feel like a lot of money spent for a lot of wasted intellect, which is what it feels like to me a lot. EDM310 is hectic, tough, one of those, "I wish it would just be over" kind of classes, demanding, time consuming, and loaded with a ton of tech material/knowledge that I can't possibly digest in four months. That is what makes this class so great!

    You've convinced me, a long time ago it seems, that the use of technology in the schools is a must, not a maybe. I can't believe so many people are allowing their money to be spent on a less than quality, less engaging education, and that so many tenured professors are exactly like you said. Thanks for pushing! Making me push myself! And wishing it was all over, so that I can go get some more!

    1. It happens every day all over the United States at least.