In September, my youngest daughter starts at school. This coincides with the first day of a new headteacher who has been promoted from within – her previous role was head of ICT.
We are already very happy with the school – our other two daughters go there, so the internal appointment offers a comfortable expectation of continuity. But more topically, I am enthralled about the prospect of all my daughters being very computer literate. Not only is it a necessary skill, but also it can greatly enable teaching, depending on how the school chooses to use it.
The MBA has taught me that today’s technology enhances learning in many ways. The YouTube videos (thank you pajholden and others), the podcast lecture recordings (thank you Mark), the game/simulations on global supply chain management (thank you Canan), the online literature resource (thank you Cass and HBR), Google (thank you iOS) and these blogs are all example of how technology in and outside the classroom can explore a student’s optimal mix of learning style – i.e. whether we tend to learn best by doing, learning or seeing.
And yet it all seems to be a bit exploratory. Students are left to their own devices to find out what suits them best. We are postgraduates. I think that we should be able to cope. But what about kids? Are schools and software providers doing enough to help kids (and their parents) to help themselves? Is teaching due an IT-enabled transformation in light of all options? I think so. But this is not about access to laptops, or distance learning versus traditional learning; it is about the way IT is integrated into the learning experience.
In March, TED published an inspiring talk from Salman Khan, the creator of the Khan Academy. At 6.27 in the video, Khan asks for a quick pause before getting a round of applause. And that is exactly what I do, I hit pause and have a think about what he has just said. Khan Academy’s videos offer students the lecture before the class. Teachers can then “flip the classes”, assign the lectures as homework, and what use to be homework, can now be tackled in the classroom. That’s it. That’s the way I learn best!
I can rewind the Khan video and listen to that point again. I am learning at my own pace, and when I get into class, I am then fully ready to learn from doing, seeing and hearing from my peers, who have also been able to learn at their own optimal pace.
Bang! Education 2.0.
A mix of distance learning and in-class workshops, but none of it in a traditional sense. Next week, my wife also starts a new job at a local high school. I will be doing my best to spread the word.