The evolution of the classroom

From the New York Times on August 16, 2008:

The educational bottom line, it seems, is that while computer technology has matured and become more affordable, the most significant development has been a deeper understanding of how to use the technology.

“Unless you change how you teach and how kids work, new technology is not really going to make a difference,” said Bob Pearlman, a former teacher who is the director of strategic planning for the New Technology Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

The needs of students have already shifted due to the development of web-based technology. The recognition of this rapid evolution seems to be a common theme in the news lately.

This also seems like another example of ideas related the development of childhood education that look a lot like theories of adult learning:

In the classroom, the emphasis can shift to project-based learning, a real break with the textbook-and-lecture model of education. In a high school class, a project might begin with a hypothetical letter from the White House that says oil prices are spiking, the economy is faltering and the president’s poll numbers are falling. The assignment would be to devise a new energy policy in two weeks. The shared Web space for the project, for example, would include the White House letter, the sources the students must consult, their work plan and timetable, assignments for each student, the assessment criteria for their grades and, eventually, the paper the team delivers. Oral presentations would be required.

The project-based approach, some educators say, encourages active learning and produces better performance in class and on standardized tests.

From Reuters on July 7, 2008:

The Internet is also a catalyst for change. U.S. enrollment in online virtual classes reached the 1 million mark last year, 22 times the level seen in 2000, according to the North American Council for Online Learning, an industry body.

That’s only the beginning, said Michael Horn, co-author of “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns”.

“Our projections show that 50 percent of high school courses will be taught online by 2019. It’s about one percent right now,” said Horn, executive director of education at Innosight Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Massachusetts.

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