Panel Topic #4: Are the formal structures of education changing because of online learning, and what roles can Web 2.0 software play in those changes?

Possible subtopics:

1. Wikipedia is the number one educational site on the web, but it is far from authoritative. (Sorry Wikipedia fans) What does that mean about the future of formal education?
2. What commercialization of education is appropriate, and what commercial organizations will step into the gap?
3. Will educational institutions be able to accommodate the dramatic changes ahead?

Tags: office20con

Views: 86

Replies to This Discussion

In my opinion, it's not fully changed yet, but it's coming. Already students are arriving knowing all sorts of things before they even set foot in a classroom - Marc Prensky talks about how it used to be that teachers showed the world to children little-by-little - as though there were a window that was obscured -- but small area by small area teachers allowed a bit more of the world to be visible to children as they taught. It was as though teachers turned on the light.

But Prensky says now kids arrive already with the light "on" - with TV, the Internet and the media informing and entertaining them - but at school we tell them to slow down and we turn down the light. The whole idea of "chunking" we all learned - does it really work anymore with kids when they already have so many "chunks" in place already?
If John Seely Brown is right, our education system will have to fail before it can change. Which would be sad, since there is so much wisdom that a caring adult can pass on to a student.
I think the fact that students arrive with some knowledge already is great. It leaves a lot more time for debate, critical analysis and reflection, which may often be cut short in a lesson due to time restrictions. I believe that it marks a shift from a teacher centered to a student centered pedagogy. Taking the knowledge out of the teacher’s hands and allowing it to be collectively analyzed, changing the teacher’s role from mere dispenser of knowledge to a co-collaborator along with the students, instead the knowledge becomes a shared experience, where all participants’ understandings become unified under a general theme. This kind of pairing or teamwork to make sense of the world, is what Vygotsky(1962) believed brought about good cognitive development.

Scott

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