In this post I would like to share with you a TED talk that I found inspiring – enough to write this article. I have come to understand from working in the education sector for several years now the challenges that educators and schools alike face in today’s dynamic and ever-changing world.
Education is the starting point to ones success in today’s world. We have all been through varying levels of education to make it to where we are today and for the most part that education has been delivered in a very traditional way.
Unpacking ‘traditional’, I am meaning;
- Teacher directed
Now we are seeing educator’s from around the world wanting reform in the sector. For the most part of the last decade there was many discussions about a “shift” in education that needed to happen and I think it has taken the most part of the last 10 years to convince educators world-wide that the way we do education needs to change.
Traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning. This model incorrectly assumes that for any amount of teacher directed teaching the same amount of learning is done by those who are being taught. However, most of what we learn before, during, and after attending schools is learned without it being taught to us. A child will fundamentally learn things such as how to walk, eat, dress, and so on without being directly taught these things. Adults learn most of what they use at work or in leisure activities while at participating at work or during leisure activities. Critics will argue that most of what is taught in the classroom setting is forgotten, and much of what is remembered is irrelevant under traditional methods.
So how can the internet drive the next 10 years of evolution in education? In my view the internet was built on the philosophy of open, free and self-empowerment – self-empowerment being that you as the individual are in control of what content you want to get access to from the internet. So how can this philosophy benefit the education sector? E-learning is part of the answer; due to the nature of the internet, dynamic up-to-date content delivered to anyone anywhere is a real shift forward from traditional content delivery tools e.g. printed textbooks. The real change the internet can bring is individual choice and intelligent adaptive systems that can compare learning abilities on a global scale.
The video in this post, in my opinion is a fantastic step in the right direction to explain how the internet can drive the next 10 years of innovation and evolution in the sector. Under a progressive model, education needs be adaptive to the individuals needs – in this context it surpasses the need to personalise learning whereby a structured lesson is “customised” to the learner, to a context where the lesson constructs itself around the interests and weakness of the learner and aims to improve those weakness areas and builds on the interests in a way that develops the learners need to study the subject area further.
The ideals that are discussed in the above paragraphs really cannot be achieved under traditional models I feel. Technology has to aid this new way that the education sector is heading in.
To conclude this rather lengthy article; I am by no means suggesting that in the next decade of education that we remove schools, teachers or classrooms. These are all still very vital in the new e-learning revolution that the next 10 years will bring. An example of why this true; rather than teachers wasting time on repetitious lecturing they could instead create a series of webcasts that are available online and linked to the lesson content which in-turn can allow more tutoring time spent in the classroom with the learner. Classroom time is vital for learners to be given the opportunity to discuss and collaborate over the lesson content rather than sit silently and copy from a whiteboard. Finally schools and institutions are vital to be able to offer facilities and programs that otherwise wouldn’t be accessible to learners that allow them to connect the theoretical material with practical applications. Schools should be open to facilitate a learner with resources and purpose-built rooms to practice the application of knowledge obtained from the e-learning material that they individually decided to learn.