Friday, November 16, 2012

Four Themes in New Education and Ivan Illich Was Right

Universal education through schooling is not feasible. It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools. Neither new attitudes of teachers toward their pupils nor the proliferation of educational hardware or software (in classroom or bedroom), nor finally the attempt to expand the pedagogue's responsibility until it engulfs his pupils' lifetimes will deliver universal education. The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring. We hope to contribute concepts needed by those who conduct such counterfoil research on education--and also to those who seek alternatives to other established service industries.—Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, 1971

NEA - a venture capital firm (New Enterprise Associates and not the National Education Association) just released a short analysis of key trends in education written by Joe Sakoda, a partner of the firm.

US K-12 students consistently lag behind their peers internationally. There is a debt of $1 trillion carried by higher ed graduates in the US. Networks and falling delivery costs for devices (pads and tablets) coupled with rising expectations for education worldwide have shifted the market for education.

The NEA paper suggests a significant market opportunity and new (or emphasized) mandates for brick and mortar institutions. Four key trends identified are:

  1. Disappearing classroom walls via networked and mobile media move education delivery from a broadcast to an interactive model.
  2. Democratizing Educational Content high quality educational elements from organizations like Khan Academy and others.
  3. Learning from Big Data Analytics gives schools an ability to see "what's really going on" using the tools of Internet commerce. "Using platforms such as Desire2Learn, administrators can aggregate learning analytics at the school district, state, or even national level, enabling best practices and insights to be shared among stakeholders. The State of Tennessee recently demonstrated the power of Desire2Learn’s statewide predictive analytics, lowering their annual dropout rate by 25% across 45 university campuses by looking at historical student data and identifying opportunities for faculty and administrators to intervene. "
  4. Transforming Local Campuses to Global Institutions "Chinese citizens spend 3.5 times more of their disposable income on education than Americans on a percentage basis. The U.S., particularly in higher education, is home to the most respected learning institutions on the planet, and the emerging markets have seemingly insatiable demand to access it. More than one million students have registered for free for online classes through Coursera, which partners with more than 30 leading institutions like Stanford, Penn, and Michigan." The vast majority of these students are from outside the US.

Worth consideration. Read the full article: A Crisis in Education is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Note: Ivan Illich developed very similar principles back in the 1960s and 70s. Mike Glodo (the writer here) had this take back in 2007, Thank You Ivan Illich , and an earlier piece Convivial Systems: Broadband, Ivan Illich, and Architecture from 2005. In my opinion, if you are not aware of Ivan Illich's work, especially Deschooling Society  you're not hip education-wise.

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