Tag Archives: education

Disrupting Education

I have begun to realize that there needs to be some creative destruction as advocated by Schumpeter in education. Disruption and paradigm shifts are not just for the domain of technology. We must begin to seriously consider a radical shift from the status quo.

Educational Technology is not enough
Although there are many technological innovations that can provide the vehicle for facilitating a paradigm shift, but it’s not the disruptive paradigm of which I speak.

I advance that what needs to happen is to create educational opportunities that teach, guide and reinforce the twenty first century skills – collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity.

I know you are thinking there is nothing new in my statement or disruptive. What I believe is missing is a new paradigm by which these skills can be effectively transmitted and facilitated. I posit that all that we do in the traditional classroom may be wrong.

I believe that learning soldiers behind rows of desks should not be. Students should feel free to move around, talk to their peers when appropriate and learn cooperatively. Perhaps take notes on whatever device they wish, even if it’s in the old fashioned notebook. Perhaps, how we reinforce should change, perhaps we need to rethink everything. Perhaps there is no right way to learn and teach, and perhaps its situational. Perhaps the new paradigm is one where you the educator and the teacher create a partnership that works for them. Perhaps that may be the new paradigm.

Homeschoolers Outperform Public School Students

This is really no surprise to me for a number of reasons:

  • Parents who have made the switch to alternative education are obviously quite invested and involved in their children’s education. This involvement and interest of course often results in greater support and positive reinforcement that will of course benefit the student.
  • Homeschooled children tend to to be more flexible and adaptable which are desirable traits in education and learning.
  • There are so many options for alternative schooling arrangements that a parent or guardian is bound to find one that matches their child’s learning style and personality. My two are in two different programs each one according to his own learning style. The public school environment  is much more traditional and rigid, which may be great for some children but a setback for others.
  • Individualized learning takes place with homeschoolers. As an educator I can tell you that  any students who receives more one on one learning time in any environment most often performs better.

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Homeschool Domination
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Skinner’s Teaching Machine

I knew of Skinner and his work on conditioning, but I must admit I had not heard of his concept and experiments with the teaching machine. I was delighted when I saw this Teaching Machine. I believe that the outcomes he described because of the Teaching Machine are truly the objectives that educators hope to achieve by introducing e-learning technologies. Unfortunately, the technology had not yet been invented to truly create the ubiquitous learning environment of today. I also believe that this early look at differentiated learning was significant and that the teaching machine provided a solution for the need for this type of instruction. It also introduced the teacher as an “author” or a producer of content not just a transmitter of information.

The teaching machine would reduce student anxiety, allow differentiated learning and increase the effectiveness of learning. Skinner was ahead of his time take a look!