Future of Education Part I

My dad  (a retired Education Professor from NY State) asked for my view on technology and education in 200 words so I thought I’d post it here too.  Feel free to chime in with your views – I’d love to hear them and will pass along to dad, who is presenting education insights to his group:

Over the last 30 years it has been painful for me to watch how technology with all its wonderful educational potential has crept more than lept into the classroom. Even today, where most teachers are comfortable with technology in the classroom, students often remain more expert than teachers with computers.

However on the bright side of the education equation there are many remarkable new technologies and approaches to education that will gradually provide students with richer, more interactive, more international, less expensive, and higher quality forms of education.

Many innovations have already made their way into classrooms including games to help with all subjects, Google search to help children find topics, read news, track down information for reports, and more. Academics now routinely use the internet to research and report more effectively.  Many then blog their findings and opinions, leading to a rich interactive experience that helps to blur the often unnecessary lines drawn between classroom and real world or between teacher and student.

The most exciting example I have seen of a very innovative approach under development uses broadband internet, specialized projectors, regular video cameras, a special type of wall sized screen, and microsoft surface computing software. The system will allow groups of children from two different classrooms in different countries to interact in real time as if they were looking at each other through a transparent wall. Even the language barrier can be overcome using translation software so students in China or Europe could join with a class in the USA to learn and share cultural insights or any comments.

1 thought on “Future of Education Part I

  1. Online education offers great potential, though that potential has been held in check by, I believe, two contrasting forces: one, the Uni. of Phoenix-like hustlers and spam marketers, and two, the public education bureaucracy itself.

    The Phoenix edu-salemen are out to make a buck, and more or less exploit the gullible: earn your MBA in IT marketing in 6 months, and you’ll be the next Eric Schmidt! The edu-bureaucrats, on the other hand, want everything controlled, proper, regulated, yet the online courses offered by UCs, CSUs, com. colleges are hardly any less expensive than many private schools (most of us won’t be attending any online course from Stanford or USC, which run to about like $2000 per unit. For a mere $6000, Biff and Bunny can complete that History of the 3rd Reich elective they never finished, and receive real college credit)

    Ethical, affordable online public education would be swell, but rather unlikely, given the Professoriat’s hold on the academy (especially in CA). Apart from say lab classes–chem., bio. etc–nearly all subjects–certainly technological, programming, maths, languages, etc.– could be online, even sans Herr Doktor Professor X. MIT’s Open courseware provides an interesting example of how that could be done, but they don’t offer credit at this time. Really, not to wax Feyerabend-like, but the idea of open access to higher education frightens both the online edu-marketers ala Phoenix, and the leftist bureaucrats (and really politicians) who run the public educational system, the MIT apparatchiks included.

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