Education is changing, and it’s changing fast.
Anyone can put together a personalized educational experience via digital textbooks accessible by iPad, video learning from top university faculty, or peer-led discussion. People of all demographics are gathering their own seeds of education and cultivating lush sets of hybrid tools to deal with the rapid knowledge replenishment that’s essential in an economy where massive career specialization and constant innovation reign.
What we’re witnessing is a bottom-up revolution in education: Learners, not institutions, are leading innovation. This is an era of plenty. I like to call it the Education Harvest.
But there is a huge issue that’s preventing lifelong learners from blossoming into our next generation of highly skilled–and employed–workers: There’s no accreditation process for self-taught learners.
Where is education headed? How are learners driving the movement? And how can we fix this lack of accreditation? Here are the five parts of the Education Harvest:
1. Gadgets And Blended Learning
Classrooms can be anywhere at anytime. When 75% of teens own a cell phone–40% of those phone are smartphones–more learning is on mobile devices than ever before. Karen Cator, United States Department of Education director of technology, said, “I think 2012 will see an expansion of a variety of ways of getting access to the materials that students need for learning.” The confluence of gadgets and learning is yielding a rise in the blended learning movement. The DOE plans to spend $30 million over the next three years to bring blended learning to 400 schools around the country.
We’re seeing evidence of this in digital textbooks by Apple (handheld devices coupled with social media) and Amazon.com (on-demand textbook rental online) to flipped classrooms by Khan Academy, TED Talks, and YouTube to mobile learning worldwide via SchoolSMS (schools sending bulk text messages to parents, teachers, and students) in Kenya and Akash (touch-screen learning tablets) in India.
2. Social Learning and Collaboration
Students are taking responsibility for their own learning, and the lines between student and teacher are blurring. Learners can determine their strengths and weaknesses and connect with one another to help and teach each other based on their areas of expertise–all they need is Facebook and Twitter. Teachers are using platforms like Kickboard, TeacherTube, Edmodo, and Edutopia to share content and lessons with each other online so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel or keep content to themselves anymore. This kind of social and collaborative behavior results in teachers and students working together as peers (gasp!) on individual learning goals, thinking through solutions together.
3. Open Resources and Classrooms
Read more . . .
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