Tag Archives: television

Playing Education Like A Professional Sport

What if the scene of professional sports applied to education? Education would see casual spectators, loyal fans, owners and agents, referees and commissioners, rules and regulations, plus a schedule of games to play.

But who would education play and how would it know it won? I guess in formal schooling there have always been competition: for the highest grade, awards and recognition, maybe even your name on a diploma. But that seems different.

When I think about education as a professional sport, I’m envisioning there is a goal or championship, a SuperBowl,  some record-breaking accomplishment, something that gets media attention and worthy of autographs.

So why isn’t education like that?  Surely there would be more prospects and recruits.  Another question: where would the stadium and arena be located?  And who would attend and why?

If you haven’t figured by now, there’s no answer, or one is not provided. But there is something more promising.  Thinking about education beyond the boring brick and mortar, and transforming it into exciting living and happening.

For those who are not satisfying with a non-answer, I offer this:  If playing education was like a professional sport, we would practice everyday, work on weaknesses, excel in our strengths, find others, tell others, and practice together until we came across the most important question: What’s our  ‘fighting name?’


Student-Athlete or Semi-Pro: Care to know the difference?

One of the joys in sports are the college games: Basketball, football, baseball, even track and others are examples of young adults, in their twenties, dazzling audiences in the bleachers, at home, or on car-stereo. 

As they entertain, do we ever think about whether one has a mid-term tomorrow, a paper to finish, or chapters to read before next lecture; become a politician, philosopher or doctor;  Do we even care to know? I mean, no one turns on the tv to see our up-and-coming college star got a B in Art Appreciation, C in Physics, and an A in Consumer Economics.  What we care to know is how many points are scored, records broken, or witnessing potential athletic greatness unfolding.

So why do some get uptight when the term ‘student athlete’ is replaced with ‘semi-professional,’ describing the kind of condition some collegians are facing—interning for entering a draft.  

It’s not clear exactly who should be called student athlete or semi-pro. What’s the difference: Money, endorsements, media coverage?  Rules state that these collegians cannot benefit or received those directly anyway.  And why not?

Experiences and lessons-learned also exist outside classrooms, schools, or colleges.  Some have learned perhaps that most sobering and troubling lesson from their fans.  That what they ‘do and show’ mean more to many than what they think and know.

‘Technology’ Needs a New Name

Trying to understand how new gadgets, iPads, smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and whatever else you can name are changing the way we learn, I’m prompted again with an annoying error message: Technology.

Sure, back in the day, when regular mail became electronic, remotes were without cords, and phones could actually be carried “mobilely,” using the word ‘technology’ seemed appropriate.  It made sense to know that ‘technology’ in Greek meant ‘art,’ since we were witnessing new forms, with the world acting as its gallery.

But now, the term ‘technology’ seems too formal, sounds too weird, mechanical, a ‘technical’ abstraction— separated from reality.

Technology used in the old way reminds me of how my mother uses the word, computer.  She speaks about it as so different, distant, disjointed, and always foreign from her real world. 

But in reality, ‘technology’, is ever-present, seemingly integrated naturally into our daily lives. Emerging innovations makes it a lifetime companion, a new edition to the family, again and again. It is already a common language shared around the world, speaking many tongues with variety. 

So, I think we should find a better term to reflect just how well it functions today, labelling it in the right way to fit its continuing leading role. 

You know, if I told my mother that I will order a new refrigerator to be sent tomorrow (never reminding her that a ‘computer’ will make the order) she would appreciate how it made her life easier, rather than having to make a special trip all-the-way to Sears.

Missing the Goal of Football (Soccer)


World Cup Logo

© 2010 FIFA Official Logo

The World Cup is here. If you don’t know, it happens every 4 years.

Around the world, it’s a “Big_Deal!”  It’s like a global SuperBowl to all nations except most Americans.  This year for the first time, the international tournamant is held in an African nation (South Africa).  Which got me wondering about American culture and influence. How come we don’t feel the hype through the usual means of media clips, commercials, sound bites, and carved bits of news?

You know, there is a common joke about how a person who speaks two or three languages are called bi/multi-lingual; but a person who speaks only one language is called ‘an American.’  It’s funny to tears.  Not only do many Americans speak only one language, things we do are separated from the world culture.  For example, Americans measure in miles, feet, and weight, while the rest of the world’s metric system uses meters and grams. 

A clear disregard comes from the American jacking of the name “football.”  Football is America’s passion with touchdowns, helmets and shoulder pads, fantasy football, and the holy grail: The SuperBowl.  Don’t confuse me, I love the sport too, but I ask:  Should football’s popularity come at the expense of downplaying another? (by the way, how we get the name ‘soccer’ anyway). 

When I watch ‘the world’s football,’  I’ll admit, I have no ideas about the rules, the running, walking, falling, headshots, look-no-hands techniques, but I feel the elation of a GOOOAAALLL scored, and its international importance, which every American must appreciate—Go FIFA; Go WorldCup!

Score: College Hoops 2010points Education 0

http://www.binarybasketball.com/image/basketball-hoop-wallpaperAs the Final Four is set and the championship is near, CBS Sports with its big ratings are smiling. All the endorsements, commercials, and sponsors surrounding the game; yet it doesn’t compare to the BIGGEST ELEPHANT in the room: Why aren’t college ballplayers, who are the featured stars, being paid directly for their performance?

Let’s be real: College Hoops is big business!  The university is paid, the coaches are paid, the audience and alumni continue to buy tickets—So where is the college athlete in the equation.

Speaking of equations.  The college sports system is still based on a bartering system, where the athlete plays a sport and in turn receive a top-notch education (through a fully paid scholarship during attendance)

The trouble is: Many college athletes from the most popular, successful, and winning universities are not staying long to receive a degree.  Due to the exposure of tv contracts and 24-hour sports coverages, their celebrity and notoriety propel them into professional dollars and salaries after a year. 

So what is the real value of a college education?  What’s the point of maintaining an obviously out-dated bartering exchange, where an education is as disposable as a pair of Converse.

Also, Big Major college coaches are being paid more than nobel prize-winning professors at the same university. This must send out some alarm about collegiate priorities, the value of education and the revenue of sports.  Even in the professional game, the players are less-skilled and developed to truly show a higher level expected from being paid multi-millions.

My final comment is that education has value that should not be traded at a cost.  Sure, college for the rest of the student body may help to secure better jobs, but the college athlete requires a new framework.

My suggestion: College athletes should be  formally paid (as employment) while playing sports. If education is really valued, then the athlete can return to school (tuition free) for a lifetime. In theory, the great college player can leave early to pursue a professional career, but the academic doors remain open even after their years of scholarship eligibility.  Taken a step further, if the player declines to return, there should be a voucher given to be used by a family member, son or daughter, of the player to attend that same college (pending some academic standards) at least the first year.

This way, sports, education, and money can stay in their respective places without hypocritical overlap.  So we can go back to enjoying the games and cherishing the value of a college  education.