I know, I know, TED is so SWPL, but I do like it.
Bethany, who used to comment here as bsking and is personally known to some of you, sent this on today. This is particularly sporting of her, as she was a math/science girl who was on the receiving end of some gender stereotyping in school.
So, another feminist mother of boys, I'm guessing. Though to be fair, these ideas are starting to get out into wider educational culture, and are there for anyone who just looks at the numbers. But it is worth noting, there are still large sectors of the academy where these are very unpopular ideas, and a lot of energy put into declaring that A) it just isn't so, B) okay it is, but it's the boys' own fault, or C) if we pay any attention to this, we'll stop helping girls. The speaker may seem only a bit emphatic to you, but my reading of the subtler cues tells me she has toned it down greatly for her audience. I'll bet if you got a coupla drinks into her you'd get an earful. Good on her.
1. What I've been saying for years
2. It has been this way for decades - read Tom Sawyer and Little House On The Prairie if you don't think so - though it may indeed be worse now, for reasons she touches on.
3. Her demurrers that yes, girls are still discriminated against fall into the pattern I described often in the past (one example): examples of how the wider culture discriminates against women, not how classrooms do that. (Larger school culture - student elections, popularity, awards - are closer to the norms of the wider culture. But not classrooms.)
4. And deriving from that, my noting that this is thus unfair to women later on, as they move from a culture where the rules are stacked in their favor to one where they aren't. The rug is pulled. Of course, we've already screwed over a lot of boys by that time, so it's not like this is something that evens out.
5. Those video education games can be done. My brother does something like that for Sky-Skan, which designs and installs those planetarium shows. But schools think of things like that as extras, that you might bring in a few times a year for fun. The idea of having screens and controllers as the foundation of your system is not quite conceivable to them.
6. Somebody's going to run a school like this - likely online - and change the world. If a guy has to give orders to his character in French to level up, he'll learn French. Videogame French, not Montaigne, but French. He won't like fake games where you have to label the parts of a cell to open a door, but he'll soak up what keeps cells nourished and alive if his character needs that knowledge to eat, or grow specialised poisons.