We don’t need no education

I’ve had education on the brain quite a bit recently.

After all, I was just involved with the Young Readers’ Conference at a local Junior High last Friday, and really impressed with the innovative teaching happening there. Although, a couple of weeks ago I chatted with a disillusioned friend (M.Ed) trying to teach critical thinking and social responsibility to her grade school-age students, only to be attacked by a soccer mom who doesn’t want to think about where her coffee comes from (and reprimanded by her superiors).

And of course much of what’s happening in Egypt, Libya, and Wisconsin can be linked to education issues. In the first two, it’s educated young people who have largely been leading the push against dictatorships (as the NY Times, Colbert, and Stewart have shown). In the latter, teachers are at the centre of the maelstrom over Republic Governor Walker’s proposed bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights and cut health benefits.

Every day, in every way, I’m learning. By reading the bite-sized news blasts on Twitter. By getting my daily dose of the Daily Show and Colbert Report. And by opening my inbox, apparently (after all, it’s not procrastinating if you’re learning something!):

1) A drag-and-drop map of the Middle East to test your knowledge of North Africa through to the “Stans”… I didn’t do too badly – except for the “Stans” – I guess I need to go back and watch Borat again! Click here to get the map.

2) A 2005 Dominion Institute Canadian History quiz, which as a Canadian historian I thought I might do pretty well on. Turns out the quiz is slanted against you if you were born in the 1980s, since many of the questions deal with the 1980s and later. Since I was too young to read newspapers or be aware of my surroundings then, and since these didn’t count as historical periods when I was in school (poli-sci territory), I only got 15/20. But I rocked New France through to the first half of the 20th century. Booyah!

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