Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Future of Education?

I stumbled upon an interesting looking course in Coursera: What future for education?

Of course, I got instantly hooked on the question. Where is education going? How could we make education better? Where should it go??

The introduction is promising: In this course, our aim is to encourage you to start thinking and questioning ideas about education.

There are very few more intriguing questions than that! An invitation to think! I love open ended questions!

This is the first reflective piece, the assignment for week 1: 
Based on your experience as a learner, what do you think you will be able to get out of this course? And what ideas do you already have about the future of education?

I certainly have lots of learning experiences, both formal and informal, and I would like to think that I am quite professional in learning. My own teaching philosophy relies on collaborative meaning-making, which makes it so crucially important for me to regularly take my own advice and reflect on my thinking, learning and knowing. I am sure this course will help me in doing this. 

My expectations are for learning new insights about education, new ways for empowering learners, and new ideas for connecting with like-minded educators. I am also looking for new tools for authoring and facilitating PD courses for teachers and faculty, and one of the best ways for keeping the fresh touch as a teacher is to walk in the shoes of students and engage in somewhat formal learning experiences.

My ideas about the future of education are plentiful and diverse. I strongly believe in learner-centered education and learner agency being the future of education. Students cannot be seen as automatons producing prescribed outcomes as a result of their engagement, like puppets spewing out factoids taught by the search machines. 

Learning happens in interactions, no matter what technology we use (or don't use).  In today's interconnected world the need for students to be able to choose the information they use is clearly becoming a very pressing issue for formal education: the teacher (or the university or school) cannot be seen as the main source of information or knowledge, because information and misinformation are freely available for anyone who has access to the internet. The premise of learning and measuring learning has already changed. We as teachers must know how to ask non-googlable questions - which is good, because these questions focus on understanding connections, instead of just memorizing a bunch of facts.

My big question is: we already have the necessary technology to personalize education to meet the needs of each and every student. Why don't we use technology for that?

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