#500words – Take 2

Timetables and subjects

Last year we ran a highly-successful campaign asking people to write 500 words on what they believe to be the purpose(s) of education. You can see the contributions here and download the PDF of the resultant Scholastic-sponsored book here.

We’re running the campaign again.

Throughout the month of May 2012 we’ll be featuring one contribution per day on this site. The contributions themselves will reside on the blog, website or wiki of the contributor.

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/purposedu500

Remember that if you ‘miss out’ you can still contribute at any time and email us the link (countmein@purposed.org.uk). We’ll curate the ‘miscellaneous’ contributions at the end of the campaign.

Image CC BY fotologic (from last year’s #3×5 campaign)

What’s the Purpose of School in the 21st Century? [quotation]

There’s plenty of educators in many countries across the world talking about the purpose(s) of education. Take this quotation from a GOOD article by Gene Carter, Executive Director of the ASCD in the United States:

Just as our classrooms have changed significantly since the 1800s, so have our ideas about the purpose of schools. Our views on education were defined by John Dewey’s theory, which states—and I’m simplifying—that the general purpose of school is to transfer knowledge and prepare young people to participate in America’s democratic society.

But today’s students live in a modern, global society that is interconnected as never before. As a result, Dewey’s explanation of the purpose of schools now seems insular and inadequate. So in 2012, what is the purpose of schools?

I propose that the purpose of schools must be preparing children to compete in the global environment. As a nation, we are in direct contact and competition with countries around the globe in a way that was unthinkable just 10 years ago.

Have you got 500 words to contribute to the Purpos/ed debate?

Praise indeed.

The Highest Limb

We don’t know too much about Brittany, the author of the blog The Highest Limb, but we do like what she’s got to say about Purpos/ed:

I love Purpos/ed because it resolves to educate people about the differing views of education – it’s like suddenly becoming conscious of one’s own consciousness. We know it’s there, but perhaps we don’t contemplate it – in and of itself – as much as we should. In my humble opinion:

1) Education is multi-faceted; you can be ‘street’ and/or formally educated.

2) Education is having an awareness and understanding of the world around you – and the world not around you – and knowing how to navigate it.

3) Education is realizing the value of life (all life) and actively doing & creating things that engender a higher quality of life (for oneself and others).

She goes on to raise an important point:

The fact that the two men behind Purpos/ed chose the Internet as the main (but not only) ‘voice’ for their educational endeavor says something. What it says is: the Internet is a powerful vehicle for the mass publication, contribution, and distribution of important ideas. And they are probably right. At least in terms of the Western world. But I wonder about people who don’t use the Internet (whether that be because they have no interest in using it or because they don’t have access to it) . . . their opinions are just as valid as someone who does use/have access to the Internet — how much are we missing, and what are we missing, by excluding their voices? . . .

Have you got something to say about the purpose(s) of education? Why not write #500words and contribute to the debate?

David Preston on the purpose of education at #DML2012

We caught up with David Preston at the Digital Media and Learning Conference 2012 in San Francisco last week. He shared with us what he believes to be the purpose(s) of education in this short 5-minute interview:

David Preston on #purposedu at #DML2012 (mp3)

Find the original at Audioboo.

Just to confirm: the hashtag is now #purposedu

When we started Purpos/ed we naturally wanted to make sure tweets related to our activity were easily captured. As a result, we asked everyone to tag tweets with #purposed.


Some evangelical Christians are using the hashtag (which is fine, but not our focus). As are the illiterati who think they are spelling ‘proposed’.

So you may have noticed that we’ve simply been adding a ‘u’ onto the hashtag recently.

Please use the #purposedu hashtag from now on.

Thanks. :-)

Will Richardson (@willrich45) on the purpose of education [INTERVIEW]

Will Richardson

A couple of weeks ago we interviewed well-known US author and educational thinker Will Richardson. Here’s the full interview, running just short of 12 minutes:

Audio hosted on archive.org

Will can be found at willrichardson.com and on Twitter as @willrich45

Image CC BY-NC-SA WayneKLin

Why we need a debate about the purpose(s) of education [IGNITE Talk at #DML2012]

Doug Belshaw, co-kickstarter of Purpos/ed gave an Ignite talk to a packed room of delegates at the DML Conference in San Francisco last week:

View on Slideshare. Notes are included. We’ll release the video as and when it becomes available.

The Ignite talk format is 20 slides auto-advanced every 15 seconds. It took some practicing!

New #500words contributions wanted!

Last year in our first, extremely successful campaign, asked for 500 word contributions on the purpose(s) of education. You can find those contributions here.

Today Doug Belshaw, co-kickstarter of Purpos/ed, is at the DML Conference in San Francisco speaking about the need for a public debate about the purpose of education.

It’s time for a new round of contributions. Whether you’re new to the debate or have already contributed, we want to hear from you! As with last time, we’ll try and get the results compiled into a book.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Think carefully about what you believe the purpose(s) of education to be.
  2. Write down those thoughts in no more than 500 thoughts somewhere (blog or elsewhere)
  3. Add a comment to this post pointing to your contribution.

We’re looking forward to reading what you’ve got to say. :-)

Seth Godin’s education manifesto

Stop Stealing DreamsWe’re very much looking forward to reading Seth Godin’s new education manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams. It’s a free, 30,000-word answer to the question ‘What is school for?’(which couldn’t be any closer to our central question, could it?)

If you’d like to write a review, let us know in the comments! :-)

Dr. Andy Law on the purpose of education

We ran into Dr. Andy Law last year at Newcastle City Library when encouraging the public to debate the purpose(s) of education. You can read more about that here.

Andy had been reflecting on how his thoughts around education had changed over the past year and got back in touch to ask if he could re-record his video. We were delighted to oblige, and the result is above!

(Having problems? View on YouTube)

Have YOU changed your mind about the purpose(s) of education? Get in touch if you’d like to contribute!

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