Friday, April 29, 2011

Something "Wired" This Way Comes

Recently, Scott McLeod wrote about 12 predictions for the future of learning. In an effort to demystify the list for my colleagues, I've informally set out to write about each of the predictions, some of which I've already written. On April 14, I wrote about the mobile movement. On March 25th, I presented a video on gaming from James Paul Gee, who can encapsulate the concept much better than I ever could. This is the next installment. 

McLeod's other predictions about the future of learning (beyond the two cited above) include, 
  • digital learning rather than analog/ink on paper
  • online, 
  • networked/interconnected, 
  • multimedia rich, 
  • self-directed/inquiry-based, 
  • open/accessible (in the sense of open educational resources), and 
  • project-based. 

The challenge, then, is to find an example of a current tool or mechanism that embodies all of these characteristics of what learning will be like in the future. Is there a legitimate educational example that is digital, online, socially networked and open but media rich and inquiry/project-based? A tall order indeed. Enter, MOOC, or a massive open online course. 

Although a bit Utopian, the concept of a MOOC does illustrate all the characteristics of McLeod's predictions for learning in the future. No, this particular presentation of the concept does not address how it would deal with complexities such as poverty, learning disabilities, deliberately planned curricular scope and sequence, alignment to rigorous (core) standards, accessibility to bandwidth/hardware, appropriateness of content to developmental level, formative assessment and subsequent instructional adjustments, summative assessment and subsequent parental and mandated state/federal reporting of student progress, or student motivation. 

This does, however, allow us to get a glimpse of pedagogical possibility, especially possibility beyond our restrictive and traditional brick-and-mortar-school doctrine and paradigm. And, as you just read, it's easy to posit why an idea or concept will not work, but what if we imagined how a MOOC could work in K-12 education? Any suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. Can we blend the two worlds somehow? Overcoming the list above of barriers will be challenging.