Just shoot me in the face.
Notice how all the children are walking separately? No one is working together, walking with each other, helping each other on the journey. No one is challenged to learn how to ride a bike even if they are more comfortable swimming. Not exactly 21st Century learning, is it?
And our poor teacher - oh, she's so overwhelmed (You knew it would be a she, right? Women just get so flustered...). It's just too much! She has to teach each of her four students, which grows to twelve by the end of the video! I'm glad to see Bill Gates acknowledge the problems that arise when teachers have to teach so many kids; imagine teaching a class of 30 or more! Oh, wait, he already has, hasn't he? Not that he advocates increasing class size in his own children's schools...
But wait! The video has a solution: buying stuff! See, nothing solves America's problems better than buying stuff! In this case, the teacher isn't going to create her own "tools" for each child, based on her own assessments, which she creates because she has adequate prep and collaboration time, and because she has a small enough class size to meet every individual need.
No, she's going to buy each child his or her own solution: hiking boots for Jimmy, a boat for Karen, and a scooter for whatshisname that actually has a price tag on it! (Seriously, go to 1:57 in the video).
And look: a jet-pack for whatshisname after the scooter fails! That a hard-hatted "developer" made for the teacher after she looked away from whatshisname with a worried look on her face. Can't see the price tag on that one, though, but I'm sure it's there, and I'm sure it will allow our beleaguered teacher to take many more kids into her class. Each one, after all, will get a "tool" made by the fine, friendly folks at SLC, all with their own price tags attached...
Aside from the incredibly condescending tone of this cartoon (well marked in the comments below the video), note the overarching theme: the solution to our education "crisis" is to consume, consume, consume. We have to buy more crap created by more tech companies so they can save more students from the poor, perhaps-noble-in-spirit-but-clearly-out-of-their-depth teachers who just can't get it together.
Well, nerds and hucksters, put down your tablets and listen up: maybe your techie stuff has some merit, and maybe it doesn't. But I will decide whether it does or not: I use technology every day in my classroom, but I discriminate, because I am the teacher, which makes me the expert in how kids learn.
If you think you've got something, let me give it a demo, and we'll see if it works. But don't come around to my classroom and my school hawking your wares like you're going to "save" me - and my students - from myself. I've seen a lot of useless garbage, both high-and low-tech, come and go over the years, but guess what? People were doing great things in classrooms before you invented your little app, and they'll be doing great things long after your dreams of a fat IPO have gone belly-up.
The "solution" to education is not to buy more digital junk; it's to start treating teaching once again as a profession worthy of respect.
And if we reduce class sizes, we won't have to let outfits like the Gates Foundation violate the privacy rights of children to individualize learning through schemes like SLC. Leonie Haimson has more, including information about how this little plan is spreading.