Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The end of education as we know it?

First Nations University, Saskachewan, Canada. Cool building, but is it 
obsolete already?

In a NY Times article entitled Death Knell for the Lecture: Technology as a Passport to Personalized Education, Daphne Koller offers some good ideas on harnessing the power of the Internet in education, but fails to mention the critical reform necessary to the creation of a truly effective educational system freed both of its present role as the prime conduit of state propaganda and of the suffocating burden of bureaucratic administration. That critical reform is to make a complete break between learning and educational accreditation.

Without separation of learning and accreditation, students are compelled to enroll in a high school or college to gain a recognized educational qualification. But if accreditation could be gained by successfully challenging a public exam without the necessity of enrolling in school or college and paying the enormous associated cost, either directly or as a taxpayer, then the power of the digital media, combined with a private sector mentoring and coaching industry, could truly revolutionize education in both cost and effectiveness.

Thereafter, schools and universities would be patronized only insofar as they provided a cost competitive service, which they would certainly be unable to do without radical reform.

At the higher levels, at least, the services of private coaches, working with students either face-to-face or online, would generally be both more effective and much cheaper than those of institutionalized school teachers or professors.

A private sector coaching industry will make use of teaching talent wherever it is to be found, and it will require no ivy-clad halls or multimillion-dollar football coaches to deliver its services.

Instead, private homes, church basements, or commercial office spaces in every village, town and city will become the schools of the future. Students will advance at their own pace, studying sometimes full-time, sometimes part-time and often only intermittently.

All educational transactions would be voluntary. No student would be stuck for a semester, a year or longer still with a teacher with whom they lack rapport or effective communication.

Teachers would achieve status according to the success of their students and could charge accordingly. But their key function and the chief measure of their success would be the degree to which they taught students to love learning and thus how to teach themselves.

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