Jun 22, 2007

Restructuring Education

I found some great thoughts at elearnspace:

Restructuring Education

Love this quote by Clay Shirky: "The hallmark of revolution is that the goals of the revolutionaries cannot be contained by the institutional structure of the society they live in. As a result, either the revolutionaries are put down, or some of those institutions are transmogrified, replaced, or simply destroyed. We are plainly witnessing a restructuring of the music and newspaper businesses, but their suffering isn’t unique, it’s prophetic. All businesses are media businesses, because whatever else they do, all businesses rely on the managing of information for two audiences — employees and the world. The increase in the power of both individuals and groups, outside traditional organizational structures, is epochal. Many institutions we rely on today will not survive this change without radical alteration." (via Mark Oehlert).

In my mind, there is little doubt that we are at the initial stages of tremendous change to our educational structures. The way in which we interact with knowledge - co-creation, commenting, amateur peer-evaluation, openness, etc. - is strongly at odds with traditional education. Classrooms have been conceived as comprising a single prominent node (the teacher). Our daily interactions are multi-nodal. Our experience with information in multi-perspective. The question that remains for me is whether education can evolve on it's own...or whether it will be transformed/revolutionized by outside forces.

(emphasis mine).

The "evolution" of education, like the evolution of most markets (and I do consider education a market), will be driven by outside forces. I don't think, however, that those outside forces will come from companies, service providers, thinkers, etc. instead, the evolution will be derive from the students themselves. In this way, education actually won't be transformed by outside forces per se. But in the same way the students today, in their individual and social lives, co-create, comment, peer-socialize, etc. -- in the ways people are already multi-modal -- those shifts will alter education irrevocably because students will implicitly require that it happens. That transformation promises to not only create many new opportunities, but also to be extremely interesting as well.