April 26, 2009

education model: student generated content * This video posted on Vimeo due to YouTube 10 minute time limit and YouTube not being available in China. I am working on shortening the video for YouTube playability and will add to post when ready. When you boil education down to its most essential form it is simply the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student. Because we have not figured out how to implant knowledge telepathically, the information has to be transported via some sort of transfer mechanism. If we go back far enough in time, the transfer mechanism was the story around a camp fire and images on cave walls. It was simple, elegant, and most importantly it worked. But our society has evolved and so have our communication tools Lately there has been an explosion in communication technology, and as a technology professional who specializes in education, the question I hear most is: How can I use this technology to better reach my students? Most education institutions set off to improve the transfer mechanism. We started with the chalkboard and then moved onto the overhead projector. When the bulbs in the overhead projector finally burned out, we moved onto powerpoint slides, and to broaden our reach we have begun to teach online and podcast. Some have even integrated clickers into the classroom. Just when we exhausted every new technology to improve the transfer mechanism, our students are still telling us that we have missed something. When you really look at, you see that most of the innovation in education has been to improve the transfer mechanism. But learning is two a way conversation, and the ways in which we are asking our students to communicate back to us is still incredibly antiquated; consisting of mostly of writing papers and filling out scantrons. Students check out when they realize all they need to do is cram the course material into their short term memories for the test, or to hammer out a paper the night before it's due. This needs to change, and our students feel it needs to change. One of my favorite quotes from a students is "I don't speak scantron." Instead our students speak Blogger, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter and WarCraft. They are fluent in the different technology languages and move between these environments seamlessly. Taking a closer look, we find that these new technologies, while exciting, present interesting challenges for education. In the networked environment the professor is no longer seen as the content expert and has to enter the network as a peer. This has some pros but it also has some fairly serious cons. Professors have to compete with their students to get their message heard. Often, the education message gets lost in the medium, because most professors don't have the knowledge, time or resources to build the digital media that students are seeing built by their peers and companies in the consumer space. Students lose respect for the both professor and the material simply because it is not presented in...

jeff monday

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