My educational career started off painful and compulsory. It has now evolved into somewhat of an obsession where I cannot get enough new information into my brain. I think that is where my interest in technology has come from. Tech tools have allowed learning to become such an independent and intriguing experience.
Independent learning is better for me because I am in control of what I want to know and how I want to learn. I can also (usually) control the rate at which I learn it. When I first found out about the Khan Academy I was thrilled to realize that I could work to understand those impossible concepts from my high school past. Such examples of open source learning empower us to go beyond the finite parameters of any classroom. The Internet is the ultimate tool of differentiation because it allows learning to be:
- inquiry based
- self assessed
I think the formal education experience is still a little tedious, and with emerging organizations like MOOC and University of the People we may just be on the edge of a massive shift. Also, not because of any organization, but simply because of a simple Google Search or online video, we are able to learn how to cook, dance, play music, and even how to use our tech tools instantly. As discussed in this Ted Talk by Chris Anderson, video online is one of the most powerful tools for teaching and learning.
A final consideration for the future of education and teaching is that it may no longer be just for the privileged. If this shift keeps happening, then we might realize that formal classroom settings and one teacher as the passer of knowledge to a class of pupils are not necessary. An online network can provide equivalent or superior support to that of classmates. And those with specialties, ideas or experiences to share, not those with teaching degrees, become our mentors even if they are not formally educated or privileged.