Does Education Need to Change?

George Siemens asks for a response to his post, Need Help: Does Education Need to Change?

  1. Does education need to change?
  2. Why or why not?
  3. If it should change, what should it become? How should education (k-12, higher, or corporate) look like in the future?

I decided to just freethink some ideas onto a document – giving myself 20 minutes or so. For the last six months or so, I have given much thought to the creation of best case learning environments. Observing classes in two African cultures has certainly influenced my thinking!

Here were my most immediate, top-of-consciousness thoughts:

Does education need to change?

Doesn’t that depend on the context and needs of the learners?

What is the goal of education?

If I believe the ultimate goal of education is to empower and maximize the potential of an individual to the benefit of greater society ( and there is an implicit value system in all of those statements, I will admit), then these are the changes I see as necessary:

  • A more humane way of evaluating “success” and competency development
  • The creation of a learning environment that is positive, encouraging – rewards success and permits a good deal of formative assessment that provides scaffolding along the way for the struggling learner
  • Opportunity for reality-based learning with a “real” audience or outcome that benefits from the learning and investigation
  • Opportunity for reflection and development of metacognition
  • Opportunity for more advanced learners to seek out their own approach to inquiry-based learning that crosses over the traditional boundaries of many disciplines
  • Opportunities for learners to experiment with their own voice and the power of their voice
  • Opportunities for learners to collaborate and communicate in problem-solving scenarios – where debate and conflict are embraced and accepted
  • Opportunities for learners to take risks; and where forgiven is extended when mistakes are made
  • Opportunities for learners to think outside themselves – beyond their own culture and socioeconomic status
  • Instructor/teachers become facilitators who are aware of best approaches because of the information they gain from participation in a network and/or keeping abreast of research
  • A sense of humour and/or sense of play is regarded as essential
  • Mutual respect and dignity between all participants in the learning process

What is missing from what I have written? I surprised myself.

No mention of technology.

So, if the tools of tech fit into the above best-case scenario of a learning environment, then that is terrific. If not,…

I would welcome any comments or critiques of my free-thinking results….