The world is currently facing monumental education challenges. Decades of standardized testing, fear of technology, and fixation on memorization have impacted the world’s youth negatively and kept them from reaching their human potential.
In a recent documentary, the telecommunications provider Ericsson sheds light on shifts happening in the worlds of various educators and the learning industry at large. Watch the documentary below and take a look at our key takeaways from the film:
Seth Godin believes the education system is scam. While many kids can sit for hours, take notes, and repeat what they learned 3 weeks later, some kids do not learn this way. They perform better once given a structure and a reason to leverage the information at their fingertips. He conveys his thinking on education in detail in a recent ebook he wrote titled Stop Stealing Dreams. The free ebook is a great foundation from which parents, administrators, students, and teachers can come together to have a deeper conversation about the future of education.
Jose Ferreira, Founder and CEO of Knewton, believes the textbook of the future will be housed on devices. Knewton is a “data mining and adaptive learning platform that allows anybody, anywhere to upload content, whether they’re a teacher or publisher, creating courses that are customized to each student.” This means Knewton turns habits and the learning curve into data and then provides hard insights like ‘you solve math problems in the morning’ or ‘divide your studying into 40 minute intervals’ based on a student’s click rate.
Sugata Mitra believes that knowledge and knowing are becoming replaced by access to information. The teacher’s duty is to point the student to the right type of question, stimulate their curiosity, and the student develops their own answers. Connectivity enables education to move quickly. His great hope is to have bandwidth wherever he goes, so that what he teaches is instantly accessible through the web.
Stephen Heppell is working to shift the focus in education from exams and scores to be more data-led and technology friendly. Much of his thinking is in line with someone like Jose Ferreira (discussed above). He mentions self-monitoring tools (similar to what we’re seeing in the health space), usage of cloud computing, and other ideas that have begun to spill into the education space. He uses the phrase ‘child-led learning’ to bring together the various ideas he believes in.
Lois Mbugna and Margaret Kositany are Ericsson employees working in Kenya. They are focused on facilitating international connectivity between local communities and urban areas like London and New York City. This has enabled them to go beyond computer usage lessons to provide mentoring opportunities to students and enhanced textbooks to teachers.
Daphne Koller is a computer scientist who is leading Coursera to develop an education ecosystem that transcends traditional boundaries like geography, time, and money. Ultimately the organization is about lowering the learning barriers and providing solutions through the interactivity of the web. This is a major trend in education the we’ve written about previously.