Survey of changes in education technology and preliminary assessments

There is a lot of change education. Huge online classes.  Electronic textbooks incorporating ‘net technology.

Here is a survey of 10 developments and an initial assessment of which won’t go anywhere and which are huge hits. The article is Many-to-One vs. One-to-Many: An Opinionated Guide to Education Technology, by Arnold Kling.

The key distinction Mr. Kling perceives will produce the most change is adjusting away from the one-to-many model where one teacher or professor lectures to a group. The new concept he suggests is many-to-one, which he describes as:

To put this another way, I believe that the future of teaching is not one-to-many. Instead, it is many-to-one. By many-to-one, I mean that one student receives personalized instruction that comes from many educators. To make that work, technology must act as an intermediary, taking the information from the educators and customizing it to fit the student’s knowledge, ability, and even his or her emotional state.

If I get the concept, that means that tiny modules of very short lectures will be presented to students based on how much they understand as the course progresses.  Auxiliary videos, graphs, maps & interactive stuff would be brought in based on the student’s progress. 

With that perspective, it’s no surprise he considers massive open online courses (called MOOC) a loser. A MOOC is essentially an existing college course that is transmitted across the Internet to 10 or 100 times as many students as sit in the classroom. You’ll have to read his article to see his concerns.

Two winners, in his view, are tablets and flipped classrooms. Tablets allow interactive instruction and allow access to a wealth of resources on the Internet.

Flipped classrooms is a model where the instructor records the lectures and the students watch those lectures as their homework. Class time is devoted to exercises with the instructor helping students who get stuck.

The home runs would be adaptive textbooks and independent certification.

Adaptive textbooks are really smart software apps running on a tablet which modify what is presented based on the learning style and abilities of the student.

Check out his article for a discussion of independent certification.

Like or dislike the discussion and agree or disagree with his initial assessments as you wish. I think there is lots of value in a survey of evolving technology and starting a discussion on what is most fruitful for further development.

The range of changes in education is so huge that he couldn’t even touch a number of the developments. Check out the full article.

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