I have been thinking about the future of education lately. It has been observed that today’s education system in most countries is designed to fit the industrial model. Essentially training children to the level required for them to fit into roles in an industrial job market.
Perhaps it’s an age thing but this always makes me think of the scenes focused on driving out creativity in favor of oppressive rote learning as shown in the Pink Floyd film “The Wall” Creating “Another Brick in the Wall”.
Bill Gates recently identifiedfour key trends in online learning:
- Creating more personal, engaging and interactive ways of learning than using a traditional textbook, including eBooks and Enhanced eBooks (ePUB3) which are a new digital publication standard that allows easy integration of video, audio, and interactivity.
- Using the Internet to post and find great teacher lectures and effective course materials. HP’s Charlie Bess has blogged About the moves to provide distance based education; Where a remote teacher uses video to reach a wider range of students. Services such as Coursera allow people to register for degree level courses delivered by experts and take them “at their own pace”; Allowing them to time shift access to high quality education around their jobs. While this increases flexibility it still uses the industrial learning paradigm.
- Using social networks to increase collaboration among and between teachers and students and extend class discussions beyond the classroom. Because the phrase "social networking" often carries negative connotations for educators, the phrase "educational networking" Is also used for services such as Classroom 2.0.
- New kinds of personalizing learning—using gameplay and other tools –that give students and teachers important real-time feedback. A good example of the use of gamification to encourage students to participate and contribute more in their education, such as this work by Ben Bertoli.
Whilst the technologies to do this exist today, the problem is that it’s down to individual teachers and educators to find ways to use them. Instead what we need is for the education system to provide platforms to teachers and students to enable Education 2.0. And it’s not just about the technology, Education 2.0 must support the knowledge economy and therefore there must be a focus on creativity and innovation More than simply learning facts; After all it’s better than being “Another Brick in the Wall”.