Learning and Education
School 30 years ago.
When I went to elementary school, all phones were wired into the wall, and there were 3 main television channels. Books were the primary medium of knowledge storage, and information WAS somewhat locked away in textbooks and the heads of other adults. To research a topic, you had to pull out your encyclopedia (for a measly summary paragraph or two) or head to the library. We got a Apple IIe in high school, and soon thereafter, we were introduced to word processing, pong, and excel…
When I went to high school, you pretty much needed great grades and an extracurricular activity or two to get into college. And my UC Davis tuition cost maybe $1800 per semester…quarter? Honestly, I can’t really TELL you what tuition was because it was reasonable and not a burden.
Compare that with today.
In today’s world, questions can be answered with a Google Search. Our kids hardly know what paper maps, encyclopedias or the Yellow Pages are. They don’t know what dialing 411 does.
Recently my daughter wanted some help completing her homework – we looked it up in her school textbook and found a few sparse sentences, and she still wasn’t understanding. But Googling “asthenosphere” produced detailed information, images, and even video lectures and animations, which gave her a rich experience and access to understanding.
There are 100,000s of entertainment options – from Playstations to cable stations, to Youtube channels or Minecraft. There are also 10,000s of learning options available – from mobile apps like Duolingo or LearnPythonon your phone, to ABC Mouse, Code Academy, Instructables, DIY.org, Tinkerbox, Make.com, Khan Academy. We live in a world FULL of learning opportunities, more than ever before. And many are free.
School SHOULD be different today than it was when I was growing up. Below are some great, short videos that cover the following ideas much better than I can:
The Truth about Learning in Schools – Will Richardson looks at what we know about how people learn best, and compares that to school.
Reinventing Education in the 21st Century – Tony Wagner (Education Thought Leader currently at Harvard’s Innovation Lab), goes through what is vital for students to learn in our innovation age, one in which humans have to be able to apply what they know to complex situations in order to add value.
Most Likely To Succeed – Here’s a short excerpt from the great ed documentary giving examples of what school could be like.
I’m also linking to some of the what we now know about HOW people learn (newsflash – lecture is a very inefficient way to transfer knowledge).
Higher Education and Learning