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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Education: The Times They Are A Changin'...

…Forgive an old 60's buff a little nostalgia:

Two wonderful links today (both just posted yesterday), one on the so-called "flipped classroom" and the other on MOOCs, two facets of the digital revolution we are witnessing in education:

1) Math teacher Robert Talbert summarizes his (positive) experience doing a "flipped classroom." I'll assume readers here know what the "flipped classroom" concept is all about, but if you don't you can read about it at the 2 sites below before going to Robert's piece (essentially the 'lecture' part of a class takes place at home off the internet from Khan Academy-type videos and the 'homework' or learning/problem-solving part takes place in the classroom with increased student-student and teacher-student interaction):


Talbert's post here:

Some lines therefrom:
"Students were learning and it was not because they were listening to me. The flipped class has left me with a profound appreciation of how mysterious human learning is. Our reduction of learning to lectures, note-taking, and homework seems almost offensively simplistic in light of that mystery. I think our students need more of the mystery...

"I never had one remotely negative comment from students about how we were doing the class — and they had plenty of opportunities. In fact one student told me that he couldn’t see how this class could be taught in any way other than flipped. I think the flipped structure benefitted students in every conceivable way. It gave them more structured tasks to do outside of class, which helped their time management and cognitive load (especially the few students in my classes who had kids). It gave them time, space, and a social network in class to encounter difficult tasks and complete them…

"I’ve always felt that, within 5–10 years, we won’t be talking about the “flipped classroom” — we’ll just be talking about the “classroom”. This way of teaching, in other words, will be normative and it will be straight lecturing that will seem odd, out of place, and ineffective."
2) And then Keith Devlin once again perceptively touting the fast-evolving role of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in higher education:


Again, several excerpts, from his long piece:
"…when you look a bit more deeply at the way MOOCs are developing, you see that the real tsunami is going to be a lot bigger than that. It's not just higher education that will feel the onslaught of the floodwaters, but global society as a whole…

"Right now, the most popular MOOCs draw student enrollments of about 50,000 to 100,000. In this it’s not unreasonable to expect those numbers to increase by at least a factor of 10, once people realize what is at stake…

"Right now, the media focus on MOOCs has been on their potential to provide (aspects of) Ivy League education for free on a global scale. But an educational system does more than provide education. It also identifies talent - talent which it in part helps to develop. That makes a MOOC the equivalent of Google, where it is not the right information you want to find but the right people…

"For those of us in education, MOOC education requires a major adjustment in attitude. Most of us go into the profession because we care about the individual. We love to interact with our students. Moreover, universities have all kinds of structures in place to catch and help struggling students. But in a MOOC, all of that goes out the window…

"If we are going to witness a tsunami, it is likely to be the true globalization of higher education and talent search."

For all in education we are living in an incredible time, with so much to ponder!

...And now (today), Keith has a new related post up at his MOOC blog (the above is from his monthly column for MAA):


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