In 2012, Daphne Koller presented a TED talk regarding technology based education. Koller’s presentation surrounding the for-profit education company she and a colleague created. This company is Coursera; it is an online based education service that takes college level classes from universities such as Yale and Stanford and distributes them to thousands of students. The scale of class size was multiplied- in one case by 250. To rephrase: a class that is normally capped at 400 at Stanford was offered to 100,000 people in one class. This is higher education at a truly global scale; students from Egypt and San Francisco, CA, Australia and Austin Texas all taking the same class together and collaborating while doing it.
This sounds almost too good to be true! If this is the new reality of higher education, then that opens so many doors. Koller posits that this,-provided there’s a digital device in your hands (smartphone, iPad etc)- this could lead to the possibility of education becoming a basic human right around the world. I can absolutely appreciate this and that type of global change would be fantastic to see. However, locally and at the secondary level, I worry about the state of education if this type of model becomes the prefered norm. If this is what the masses come to prefer, I feel that it will become even harder to develop student relationship and connections. What about students who AREN’T intrinsically motivated to complete work? What about students who are social individuals and do their learning best surrounded by others?
As fantastic as this type of progress is- and it is absolutely an achievement- I genuinely don’t want to see this model pervade high school level education. In higher education where the vast majority of students are adults who are responsible for their own learning anyway, this seems to be a wonderful way to reach more individuals. However, when students at the high school level I still argue the need for physical classrooms with teachers live and present to have truly effective learning. We can use the breakthroughs that have been found as a result of models like coursera to make understanding more accessible for students- ie shorter module lessons, more chances to get “hands on” with the content etc. But we don’t need to ditch the classroom in its current iteration just yet.
Take a look at the video, tell me what you think.
Koller, Daphne. What We’re Learning from Online Education. (2012, August1). TED talk. [youtube video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6FvJ6jMGHU&index=12&list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp
I'm a Teaching Credential Candidate at CSUSM working towards a credential in English and Social Studies/History. Here's where I'll share my thoughts on various articles and videos related to teaching as well as my experiences in the education world.