March 23, 2010 by Scott McLeod 9 Comments
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“If institutional education refuses to adapt to the landscape of the information age, it WILL die and SHOULD die.”
The video is An Open Letter to Educators. Happy viewing!
Very cool video, I really don’t see kids learning to read on the internet or learning how to do Calculus or even how to write a comparative analysis of two written works. The internet is not so great at teaching higher level thinking skills. Facts, yes. Thinking, not so much.
It is ironic that Mr. Brown spends 6+ minutes as a virtual teacher standing (OK, sitting) in front of a virtual classroom expounding on his propositions.
I agree with his point that information is becoming “free”. However, there is still a need for people to help other people learn. The information – as a stand alone entity – means little until a person understands how to access it and make it useful to herself and/or others. The current educational establishment is clearly not the only mechanism for such learning, and maybe shouldn’t ultimately even be in the mix, but somewhere along the line all of us need someone else to show us the ropes in a tactile, hands-on, person-to-person(s), one-step-at-a-time way.
I think you are missing the point. The internet is a tool just like the textbook. As educators we should be teaching students how to find information and how to discern whether the information is of high quality or not. The internet allows the classroom to expand beyond the four walls.
The internet is a great resource for finding help. Look at YouTube sometime for solving calculus problems. After hours, students are able to find help about a subject that you may be teaching. They may even find a different teaching strategy that enables them to understand the concept you are trying to teach.
Let’s face it. Unlike most businesses, schools do not allows meet the needs of their customers. Today’s students has grown up with the internet. Let’s start making better use of it. Yeah, this will make you uncomfortable, but who is this about….you or the student?
@NancyEH: I’ll be one of the last to say that our need for teachers is going to disappear anytime soon. That said, however, isn’t it true that we are finding that our need for “someone else to show us the ropes in a tactile, hands-on, person-to-person(s), one-step-at-a-time way” is increasingly happening online rather than face-to-face? I think most of us are finding that the need you describe is actually smaller than we think it is given other ways to access / learn / participate in knowledge dissemination and/or creation. If I can find the information I need online – and/or an active user community around that topic – isn’t it true that I need less face-to-face hand-holding? I think most of us would say yes…
Very well done. Okay, he didn’t have to talk about facts or even information as if that was ever the main point of education, but he is totally correct in his analysis. The world has changed dramatically; higher ed has not changed much. We either reinvent ourselves or become irrelevant. Our choice!
How is it ironic? He actually exemplifies the very point he makes. It cost him nearly nothing to make the video and post it online. It cost us nearly nothing to watch it. We are now discussing it. We didn’t have to sign up for a class or even listen to an hour long lecture. He has no qualifications that would have made us think we should pay attention. The only thing that could possibly be construed as being teacher like is he presented verbally. Would it have been more acceptable if he had used charades to make his point?
Okay…so I get that information is free and the world is changing. But I totally disagree with his premise for what EDUCATION was created for. It WAS created to develop citizens who would CONFORM to the system. Look at the construct…it’s a factory model. The bells ring and the little widget students move from station to station along the assembly line of education. It’s intent was never to create INNOVATIVE thinkers and people to change the world. That’s a very new concept of education, and that’s why the model of education and this new concept are a round peg and a square hole. Sure, they try to make strides to change education with new programs and such, but as long as you are just tweaking the system, it will never truly change. As long as I am directed by the state to teach thousands of objectives in a year, then teachers will crush through the content…CONTENT drives CURRICULUM. And we see what the fight over content has created in the great state of Texas.
But I think we should be wary of thinking just because everything is on the internet and people have internet access that we have a magically educated populous.
I also wonder what Mr. Brown will do for his livelihood? I mean…how long can his blog of advertising sustain itself as an economic stream? So you drop out of school in order to spend your day complaining about education…so what’s next? And are you interested in actually being a part of the change, or just ranting about the need for it? Personally, I think we have two few of the former and not enough of the latter.
You dropped out? Hoops too boring to jump through? A hearty good luck with that, sir! (Maybe you should have just switched your major…?)
I watched this and prepared a lengthy commentary only to not send it in. I can identify with him in spirit but that ‘s where it ends. IF he had gone to college, he might have learned how to develop a reasonably persuasive essay. But I give him a D- for his presentation. It is rambling, underdeveloped, mostly devoid of supporting examples and even gets close to contradicting itself. He chooses huge universal topics – education, technology, economics and then cherry picks slivers of each to make a case for….oh education needs to change…by embracing more technology. This will lead to more lucrative careers (at least insinuation is there). Where are the specifics? Info is free. He uses the internet vs a text, profs don’t know students’ names. Then he comes off as a bit of a megalomaniac leading the legions of his generation away from the staid, out of touch educators in their ivory towers. I got news for him. Most of his fellow dropouts will be working for some hardworking immigrant who went to crappy schools and worked their butt off to make it. They probably had to do a lot of rote learning. The students our current system produces are apathetic, lazy and falling further behind the rest of the world. Generation Me can blame the baby boomers for the dismal state of the economy, but most don’t realize how poorly prepared and incompetent they are.
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