Fake and Real Student Voice

Dean Shareski, Nov 22, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

As Dean Shareski observes, a lot of educators are enthused about this video depicting three girls making a Rube Goldberg machine rather than imagining themselves as Disney princesses. "I like the message. I like the way it’s shot. I like the girls," he says. But like most images in advertising, it's not real. And so even if we like the message, we have to question the methodology. But more, "While I might be able to look past that, and I can, I don’t like the perception that this is authentic as it suggests. Which raises the larger question of authentic student voice." And in fact, thd child's voice is usurped far more often than we might like. The Dalton Sherman keynote, for example, urging schools to change. But he never had any hand in writing it. Shareski points to the Logan Lapante TED video as a good example of authentic student voice, but this supposes that a TED video can be authentic, which I doubt. TED only picks messages its well-heeled sponsors want to hear, and a TED speaker, no matter how apparently authentic, is essentially the online world's teacher's pet reciting a preapproved message. Real voices of any kind are genuinely difficult to find, which is why when they appear, the are so valued.

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