Thursday, December 04, 2014

This Will Revolutionize Education

So we are told.  By Edison over movies, then closed-circuit tv, then use of computers and now online learning.

This is a great video which does a good summing up at the end.

Learning is, and has always been, about connections.  How a student makes the connections in his/her brain to what is being said to now being embedded in their brains.

But most of all, it is the ability of one person - a teacher - to get those students to a place of learning. 

So the next time Bill Gates (or anybody for that matters) says, "this will change learning," you can just smile.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree, to some extent, with the video. It may be true for many, or even most students, that they need this social component or external sources of inspiration, but there are plenty of other students who are naturally passionate about learning and internally motivated to pursue and master new material. They don't need a teacher to inspire them--they are already inspired to learn. For many of these kids, teachers actually limit their learning, because the outside learning such kids do doesn't neatly fit with the teacher's lesson plan. I don't buy the idea that learning is inherently social activity. (Unless, of course, you define social broadly, to include interaction with a book or video, which was created by another person, using a shared language of the larger population. But that's not the premise of the argument--it's more focused on live, face-to-face interaction as the mechanism for social interaction.)

For kids (and adults) with this strong internal motivation to learn, as well as kids who are working at level significantly beyond that of their peers, I think technology CAN revolutionize learning--not by virtue of animations or videos or the specific media used, but rather by revolutionizing ACCESS educational material. Sure, there have always been textbooks--but it isn't always easy to get your hands on one, and even more challenging to get a good and current one. Online access to full texts, detailed courses, etc. allows people to easily find materials that meet their own learning needs. It also makes it easier to consult a wider variety of sources, providing a richer understanding.

Online learning is not for everyone, and yes, it probably won't revolutionize the field of education as a whole. But in the battle to educate those extremely hungry minds, I'd say it IS providing a mini-revolution. It can remove the learning ceilings imposed by traditional classrooms, and allow much greater opportunities for greater depth, acceleration, faster pacing, etc. All things that our AL programs struggle with. It gives these kids options they didn't easily have before.

HIMSmom

ben said...

I don't think the author of the video would really disagree with you. He is producing educational science videos on youtube after all. His point is more systemic. Outliers and exceptions exist but for the system as a whole, I can believe that learning is a social experience and teacher's are crucial.