Stereotypes of Education

I recently read several articles from scientists and science educators relating the stereotypical images of mad scientists to the aversion of some students to study and enter STEM fields–especially girls.  Here’s something a little bit related.

I was perusing a stock photo site through its education category and noticed something equally as weird, at least, if not disturbing.  Out of 119 images, I counted five that contained any image of technology beyond a calculator, and those five images simply had pictures of desktop computers.  You know which staple of education gets the most press in these images?  Go on, guess!

It’s the CHALKBOARD!  I didn’t count, but I’ll estimate that 90% of the images I saw contained a chalkboard of some kind.  Also highly prevalent were images of people smiling next to stacks of huge textbooks, rows of desks, and somebody lecturing to other people.  

Obviously, stock photography can’t be treated as an accurate reading on the pulse of education.  But isn’t it still somewhat, I don’t know, depressing that this is how the world generally views it?

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About Kris Nielsen
Kris L. Nielsen has been a middle grades educator and instructional leader for ten years in New Mexico, Oregon, and North Carolina. He is a graduate of Western Governors University’s Master of Science Education program, with emphasis on child development and instructional technology. Kris is an activist against corporate education reforms and has had his writing featured in several online magazines and blogs, including those of the Washington Post and Diane Ravitch. Kris currently lives in New Mexico with his young son and beautiful wife.

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