Reflections After Visiting South Korea

While my recent trip to Seoul was only a few days, it was a fantastic benchmarking exercise, given I had not visited the country since 2006.  South Korea’s innovation in both entertainment and “serious” media development is riveting.  I was wholly impressed with the advances they have made in not only creating truly immersive entertainment experiences, but also in their committment to games and education.  It is wholly inadequate for me to state that they are thinking further ahead than the United States.  I applaud their efforts, and hopefully, my work to encourage knowledge transfer and collaboration between Korean and U.S. media companies will help enhance the already respected talent pool in the United States.

It is IMPORTANT that everyone understand that my comments do not suggest nor diminish the work of a few pockets of innovation in this country.  I am simply stating that taken as a whole, the United States should learn from what other countries are doing, particularly South Korea.

I would also like to give kudos to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, because although I do not agree with some of this policies or tactics, his selfless committment to pushing his agenda to all stakeholders, most recently the powerful NEA, is absolutely required in order to eventually be successful in reinventing education in America. A recent article talks about the substance of his recent keynoe at an NEA conference.  If you go back to my 4-part treatise on reinventing education, obviously teachers are one of the key elements, but not the only element. Know that teachers are only a piece of the current problems; they are not the cause of the problem nor should people use teachers as the scapegoat to the education problems in America.  My mother was a 25+ year teaching veteran in the public schools, so you will NEVER hear me trash talking teachers.

In this month’s eSchoolNews magazine, there is a great op-ed authored by retiring Intel Chairman Craig Barrett titled, “American Education Reform:  Stranded on Islands of Excellence.”  I was unable to find a link to it, but I suggest everyone find a way to read it.  Mr. Barrett boiled our action plan to remain globally competitive down to three “pillars”:  Smart People, Smart Ideas, and Smart Policies.   I want everyone to read this article in detail, but here is one quote that refers to datapoints that come up time after time after time:

“Out of 30 industrialized countries we rank 25th in mathematics; in science, 21st; in reading, 15th; and in problem solving, 24th.  You would think that this data would make headlines in the daily newspapers.  But in America, our intellectual and academic decline is a non-event.”


With that, I thank all of my readers for their continued loyalty and support, and until next time……

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