Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Devlin on Bonobos etc... ;-)

Yet another great piece from Keith Devlin, this time at Huffington Post, once again taking the educational system to task, while contemplating the value and future of MOOCs:

He compares the stagnant K-12 educational system we have with  "the educational method animal psychologists use to train Bonobo apes."  And continues, "More to the point, it is also the method that was developed (for children) in the early 19th Century, when countries around the world were introducing universal education. Its purpose was to prepare a workforce to fuel the post industrial revolution society. A key requirement was to train millions of people to think inside particular boxes. And that is what it did, very effectively." But, he goes on to say, it is "woefully inappropriate in today's world."

So many trenchant thoughts in the piece, be sure to read the whole article, but here are a few more excerpted lines to whet your appetite:
"Given the stranglehold on U.S. public K-12 education held by various powerful groups with a vested interest in preserving the status quo, buttressed further by others who want to enter the same lucrative market, MOOCs offer a wonderful opportunity to overcome the damage schools do."

"...those of us developing these new courses need to resist the pressures -- from many sides, including many of the students themselves -- to conform to existing educational models."

"I think that with some effort, we can scale enough of it so that MOOCs can make up for much of the damage resulting from putting 21st Century students through a 19th Century school system. And we can do it on a global scale."

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