What will the classroom of 2020 look like? As I look ahead, many of the trends we’re seeing today will continue to expand learning beyond the classroom walls to connect educators, students and real-world experiences. These trends are being driven by pioneering teachers and their students, and are fueled by technology — especially the Internet and the cloud. With more than 40 states adopting Common Core and with increased focus on deeper learning and developing creativity, I see exciting movement to a more personalized and collaborative education. Together with the proliferation of devices such as smartphones and tablets, teachers and students will have unprecedented access to tools for creative expression, and will find it even easier to share, to co-create and to experiment with new ideas.
Many of us have known for some time that the face of teaching is changing. We are no longer the all knowing, fountain of knowledge. And apparently at this year’s SXSWedu Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas the idea of us being facilitators of personalised learning was popular. About time I hear from the back.
So what were the key foci:
- Teach students to find the answers.
- Ignite a spark.
- Put context before content.
- Let learning be iffy.
- Bring students in as curriculum designers.
How much of this technology are you already using?
Let us know in the comments.
Technology may be the magic cure India needs for the ills that plague its school education, executives from companies providing technology solutions for classrooms said in a discussion at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit, 2012.
Education has a role to play in efforts of a country looking to transforming itself from a middle-income economy to a high-income one said the discussion’s moderator, Gordon Brown, United Nations special envoy for global education and the former Prime Minister of the UK. There is “no other important issue other than education in this country or globally,” he added.
And in India, said the executives, at least some significant education challenges can be met through technology.
In a recent episode of All Things Considered, NPR highlighted the University of the People, an online institution that claims to be “the world’s first, tuition-free, non-profit, online academic institution.” It helps individuals like Naylea Omayra Villanueva Sanchez who, due to a motorcycle accident, can neither physically attend nor financially afford a university education.
Sounds dreamy, yes? In the words of one commenter, “the concept tickles peoples (sic) utopian fantasies.” This is perhaps why it didn’t take long for the generally unruffled comment thread generated by NPR faithfuls to get a little derisive—even rightfully so.
Surviving without profit
UoP isn’t actually the first non-profit online institute—Khan Academy beat them by three years in 2006. Since Khan and UoP, numerous institutions have sprung up, including for-profit Udacity and Coursera and non-profit edX, a venture by MIT, Harvard, and other leading universities.
It seems, however, that this pie in the sky is having trouble manifesting. Despite partnering with Hewlett Packard and Yale, UoP is catching heat for going back on its promise for a free education. Starting in September, new students of UoP will pay $100 for every final exam. Even its supporters are concerned.
“How are we going to make this work, while keeping it tuition-free and not having any onerous fees that would at all restrict access to the world’s poorest of the poor, yet at the same time keep the organization growing?” asks Dalton Conley, New York University’s former dean of social sciences. Conley goes on to quote Shai Reshef, the founder of UoP, “We’re not the future of higher education, we’re the last resort.”
Philip Altbach, head of the Center of International Higher Education at Boston College, says, “[It’s] a nice idea,” but adds a caveat, “I think it’s a bit half-baked at this point.”
Plagiarism in the online eLearning community
Altbach cites another difficulty with massive online learning: plagiarism. “How, for example, will you figure out that the admirable woman in Peru is taking the tests herself?” (Note: one commenter proposed biometrics.)
Coursera has recently come under fire—by its own students, no less—for such cases of plagiarism found in peer-graded essays. Laura K. Gibbs, a lecturer teaching online courses at the University of Oklahoma and a student of Coursera’s fantasy and science fiction class, lamented the incidents on her blog.
(In case you’ve forgotten, here’s TeLS’s previous infographic and article on 10 types of plagiarism.)
eLearning has a disadvantage in that instructors don’t always look at students’ work, but their students also hail from across the globe. Many universities boast eclectic student backgrounds, but not all institutions remember that some students plagiarize because they don’t know it’s culturally unacceptable.
“If we really are trying to teach the world, including people from other cultures,” says Coursera professor Charles Severance, “we have to take a responsibility to educate people about plagiarism, not just vaporize people for it.”
A ghost-writer comes clean
If Daphne Koller’s sense that plagiarism doesn’t happen more frequently than in regular classroom environments isn’t enough for some skeptics, they might consider picking up a copy of The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat by ghostwriter-come-clean Dave Tomar. After feeling alienated and cheated out of a quality education at Rutgers, Tomar wrote papers for cash at bachelor’s through doctoral levels. What’s more, he sees himself for what he is—“Even if I can rationalize what I’m doing, I can’t take any pride in it…I’m trash”—but also sees everyone in the college institution as a “co-conspirator.”
Tomar goes on, “When I started doing this job, I was so angry over my university experiences and just over the direction of our culture in general…. We are so deeply entrenched for a lot of economic reasons in this cost structure where colleges have inflated their costs so dramatically, but the return on it is completely static.”
Perhaps University of Michigan and Coursera professor Eric S. Rabkin feels a similar cynicism after years of deep entrenchment in this kind of dollar-signs culture. “I’m not interested in proving this could substitute for the University of Michigan,” he says. “What I’m after is seeing if we have a way of capitalizing on a large group of people with smart software and a clever system that can make a community that has guidance and can teach itself.”
Kay Winders is presently the resident writer for www.badcreditloans.org, where she researches the best way for people to pay off their debts without damaging their credit. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing, the beach and gardening.
A world-first “e-learning” project which is transforming children’s lives in some of Auckland’s poorest suburbs is looking for partners to expand throughout the country next year.
Children as young as 5 in nine schools in the Tamaki-Glen Innes area are publishing their work on the internet and attracting feedback from around the world – with extraordinary effects on their motivation.
“It’s so affirming,” says project manager Dorothy Burt.
Two-thirds of the students are from Pasifika families where often the main language at home is not English. Another quarter are Maori.
They start school two years behind the national average but at Pt England School, the first to use the new technology, they now catch up with the average in reading and maths by Year 5.
Carpe Diem Collegiate High School is a blended-learning school that blends the best of face-to-face instruction, technology and extended learning opportunities in order to boost student achievement…Carpe Diem is working — now it’s your turn to “seize the day.”
We’ve added this to our “Teacher PD suggestions“
Content curation will play a major role both in the way we “teach” and in the way we educate ourselves on any topic. When and where it will be adopted, it will deeply affect many key aspects of the educational ecosystem.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
This article, builds up over my recent presentation on Content Curation for Education that I delivered at Emerge2012 virtual conference.
In that presentation I claimed that the adoption of “curation approaches” will directly affect the way competences are taught, how textbooks are put together, how students are going to learn about a subject, and more than anything, the value that can be generated for “others” through a personal learning path.
If we learn not by memorizing facts, but by collaborating with others in the creation of a meaningful collection-explanations of specific topics/issues/events then, for the first time in history, we can enrich planetary knowledge each time we take on a new learning task.
And it’s already happening.
Yes, we are only at the very early stages, but, in my humble opinion, there are enough signs and indications that this is not going to be something marginal.
In this article I outline ten key factors, already at work, which, among others, will very likely pave the way for a much greater and rapid adoption of curation practices in the educational / academic world.
These factors are:
- An Overwhelming Abundance of Information Which Begs To Be Organized
- A Growing Number of “Open” Teaching / Learning Content Hubs
- Constantly Changing Information
- Real-World Info Is Not Held Inside Silos
- Fast-Food Info Consumption in Decline
- Job Market Changing – New Skills Needed
- Alternative Certification Systems Emerging
- Teachers Can Curate Their Textbooks
- Educational Marketplace Open to Thousands of Competitors
- Demand for Trusted Guidance
See the article for the full details: Why Curation Will Transform Education and Learning: 10 Key Reasons.
Fifty years ago a group of Seattle students were asked to make predictions about the “classroom of the future,” as part of the 1962 Century 21 World’s Fair. They came back with a mixed bag: phones that fit in your pocket? Check. Flying cars? Still waiting. (None mentioned high-stakes tests, Lunchables or Wikipedia.)
This year as part of the fair’s 50th anniversary, the Seattle Center asked students to make their own predictions about what school will look like 50 years from now.
Their ideas run the gamut, from helmets that squirt knowledge into our brains while we sleep to a videoconferencing screen that offers simultaneous translation. More than 60 kids submitted ideas, but here are a few highlights, grouped into some recurring themes:
Having just finished my very first online lecture on the history of the internet, I am both heartened and dismayed by the experience. Heartened that 34,077 students can enroll in a class taught by a single professor, but dismayed that education (online or otherwise) continues to push learning-by-rote and a lecture based knowledge-transmission model. One thing remains clear – this is only the beginning of the disruption of higher education as we know it.
It has ever been a great contradiction in education that the very institutions that further education also perforce restrict its access to a relative handful. Esteemed universities like Cambridge, Paris/the Sorbonne, and Bologna (commonly held to be the first university in the western world in 1088, preceded by even earlier ‘madrasas’ in eastern civilizations) have held themselves to a high standard of excellence, yet relatively few have been able to attend them due to lack of mobility, resources or perceived ability. Over the millennia, tradition has given way to change – women can now educate and be educated, and books and technology are the medium. Yet the basic knowledge-transmission model of an older, more experienced teacher ‘lecturing’ to students remains the same. And while e-learning is all set to revolutionize access to education, it remains unclear how it will impact this traditional knowledge-transmission model. This post is an attempt to break down shifts in higher education today, and predict how it will change in the next 5-7 years
The major media outlets are writing a great deal of misleading articles about online learning. The foolhardy would be unwise to follow the advice of NY Times writer Mark Edmunson. His article, “The Trouble With Online Education”is flawed on so many levels I can’t even compel myself to rebut it. I’ll let my friend and colleague Michael Horn do that, which he did here. I have also seen some highly toxic, overly hostile-toned op-eds from teachers union-funded efforts that portray themselves as “public policy institutes.” Countless times, they misinterpret the words of people like Bill Gates, claiming he would replace all teachers with avatars and first person shooters. They have also tried to bastardize the intentions of Sal Khan, inventor of the Khan Academy. Khan has never tried to make himself a martyr or some symbol of a flipped classroom. All he did was show what the power of digital technology can do to help students learn, if we let it. All of this behavior is not surprising, because institutions fear change, and they will do whatever it takes to protect the status quo.
To make a small analogy, we’re seeing the folly of trying to televise the London Olympics as if we’re still in an analog world. NBC has been besieged with criticism for holding back key programming to air on a tape delayed basis in prime time. The problem is, the blogosphere has already announced the winners to the entire world, so who wants to watch Ryan Lochte win the gold medal when the outcome is already known? For some amusing commentary on this, feel free to read this article about it. What I am trying to illustrate is that you can’t keep following the same model when the world has changed. Public education is no exception.
“Who will lead the way for innovation in education?” This is one of the big questions concerning higher education as the 21st century moves into its second decade. In a general sense, it would seem that brick-and-mortar institutions would be at the forefront of such innovation given their resources, easy face-to-face collaboration and infrastructure. The question remains though, are such institutional structures really supportive of innovation or is there a better alternative?
In contrast to traditional higher education, online learning is well-positioned to address shifting paradigms in regards to what education, learning, and knowledge look like in the 21st century. Because it is delivered via the Internet, it is also naturally aligned to the use of innovative technology such as social media, blogs, Wikis and other collaborative tools. Where the real benefit lies however, is in how well-equipped e-learning is to adapt to the rapid pace of technological change in the world.