Wednesday 9 September 2009

Do you know of other changes in education for students?

Education is changing and all of us feel the results of that change. We are amidst the change as educators, but how does this affect the student/learner?

After reading the book ‘Disrupting Class – how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns” by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson, I had the urge to start putting the changes on a piece of paper. As soon as I committed the ideas to paper, more ideas bubbled up.

Although I came up with a more or less lengthy list, I hope you can add some of your ideas of change in education. The list I could put together leading to the Walhalla of education we are aiming for.

In the meanwhile I am now listing changes for parents and teachers as well... will be posting those soon.

(thought after publishing this post ... wondering what the tables will look like on my mobile.... )

(Cartoon by Nick D Kim,

Yesteryear – a passive more read than write world

My educational Walhalla: the content production era

The student / learner

The student went to school on fixed times.

The learner fits education within her/his schedule or interest.

Lunch and breaks were given during which you better NOT learned (nerd and geek were bad names in those days).

You learn even when others do not, because you know that learning is fantastic.

Only very precise labeled books, papers, manuscripts were mandatory course material and as a student you just needed to go through them;

You gather your content, in doing so learning to be critical in filtering obtainable content.

As a student, you had little chance to explore the world and dive into any content yourself (exceptions aside).

The Web is your oyster… or chocolate cookie jar, where you can satisfy your knowledge hunger with delight.

Assignments and exams were mandatory if you wanted to pass anything formal.

Any type of assignment/test/task is very closely linked to real life cases and situations.

School was part of a life cycle: birth, school, work, death.

Learning is life.

You, as a student were isolated to your close (regional) classmates.

Anyone who has access to internet (even with limited frequency) can be your classmate or learning colleague. The world is your neighbor.

Group work was limited and did not go beyond class-room or at the most own school boundaries.

Group work can be very multicultural and diverse both in approach and in peers.

Your part of the world was enough; other continents were exotic and different.

The world is getting to be more of the same, no matter where you live (war zones not included, hopefully they will disappear).

No fiddling, no doodling, no talking… for most of the time. Paying attention = similar to physical and mental lethargy.

You do whatever is needed to get your mind working (I curse, yell and walk around stamping my feet if my brain cannot grasp something – this part does not resemble Walhalla)

If you scored above average on your assignments, you would get a diploma. Strangely enough this never meant that you were prepared for working life. It was more an indication that you could do what needed to be done to obtain a diploma in the prevailing learning system.

What you learn, is either a useful foundation for or the actual content you will use in your professional or personal life.

Higher education would mainly be followed in your own region.

Go to whatever educational institution you like, why not join the University of South Africa (the longest operating University in Distance Education)

The focus is on extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation rules!

Material was not taken into account different learner skills and/or needs

Even the least mainstream learner can find what is needed for his/her own knowledge benefit in a way that is accessible to them.

Teacher centered


Learning is linear

Learning is connected

Learning is receiving

Learning is retrieving, analyzing and producing.

Learning is whatever the group gets, you will be measured to the performance of the group, not to your absorption of the content.

Learning is what YOU need.

If you learn slower or quicker then the average processing time of your student group, that will be that, there is no alternative way to get more or less time to absorb the content in.

You absorb content at your pace (slow or quick).

Let me know if you can think of any other changes that can be added or if you made a list of any of these changes as well.