Recently I have been watching more and more of the TED videos. I found this video about the future of education is Daphne Koller’s – What are we learning from Online education.
If you have 20 minutes to watch it, please do. If not, I’ll summarize. She brings attention to the rising cost of education, and the inequality it causes all over the world. She has developed with co-founder Andrew Ng, Coursera. Together with the world’s top professors from the top universities offer free online courses. Technology allows the experts to reach not hundreds or thousands of students, they can teach millions of students all over the world. Rather than the elite few receiving a world class education, all people can be empowered by education giving them a way to improve their lives, communities, and the lives of their families.
The courses offered are very diverse, based on inactive learning with videos that include questions that give instant and frequent feedback, peer assessment and support forums, mastery learning, and self monitoring. Currently Coursera has 2.4 million students, and growing. I believe that this where we are going with education. Is it the future? It’s happening NOW!
A similar idea is the Khan Academy a collection of videos from math to art history with practice exercises to develop mastery.
The future of education is being dramatically changed by the use of technology. Connectivity is allowing us to built global learning communities opening up opportunities for all people achieve a higher level of education leading to a higher quality of life.
We also have learned more about what motives us as people to create and share ideas that will continue to change our world.
Here is another example of free online courses happening around the world, otherwise known as MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Shimon Schocken speaks about the importance and value of self study. He and his team of creative thinkers have developed a course where people can built their own computer. While this is an amazing task to accomplish for the ordinary person, what struck me the most about Shimon’s talk was his comments about our obsession with grades. He points out to get good grades, students can’t make mistakes. As we have discussed in our CoETaIL program failure or making mistakes teaches us the most. Shimon says that we are degrading students with the current system that is completely focused on GPA’s, never allowing for a true education that comes with failing. He is promotes upgrading education to use learning by doing, self study, and self-exploration.
Dan Pinks talks about the difference better extrinsic (incentives) and intrinsic motivation. When people are asked to complete basic tasks extrinsic motivators are effective. When people are asked to use their minds to problem solve, create, understand, etc. extrinsic motivators are detrimental. The most powerful intrinsic motivators are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The most successful ideas have been created when people are given the time and space to experience these three intrinsic motivators.
Yes, here’s another favorite TED talk by Susan Cain: The power of introverts. I consider myself to be an introvert, not 100% of the time, this video highlights the imbalance of societal attitudes encouraging extrovert behaviors and discouraging introverted behaviors. Susan reminds us that the ideas and creativity that are produced by introverts are truly a gift to those around them, give them time, space, and respect they deserve. The implications of this in education highlights the constant pressure to collaborate and involve students in group work. These teaching strategies can be uncomfortable and counter productive for introverts. I think that finding a balance that allows both introverts the time to formulate ideas and opinions in a quiet individual space, and extroverts the interaction and group collaboration to share ideas would be ideal. I think that MOOC give learners both environments the thrive in.
As I think about what the future of education will be, I look at all these interesting changes that are happening now because of technology. The fact that I live in Yangon, Myanmar struggling with a decent internet connection and still have access to all of these amazing videos, websites, and blogs is a testament to the power of the connectivity of technology and how it changes our lives. When I try to connect these dots to predict what teaching will be in 5,10,15 years, I think no one knows what will be developed giving the constantly evolving technology that is rapidly changing lives all over the world. I hope that education will be rebooted. The MOOC gives millions of people access to education that never did before. It will also be a good medium to give the socially pressured introverts a technologic buffer to contemplate and a protective forum to share their carefully formulated ideas. Understanding more about what motivates people, new and creative ideas that involve social change improving the human condition globally will continue to grow. I hope that these and the many more innovative ideas will continue to be shared through our growing PLN’s to produce an education system that Shimon Schocken speaks of. An environment rich in resources, the space to fail, explore, discover how the world works, and the technology to share it with the world. One thing is for sure, I convinced that our “degrading” system has to go! The rest will be up to us to share the redefining ideas with each other to continue this progression.