Why I am depressed about the future sometimes

1to1unconf7204Reading Matt Crosslin the other day over at EduGeek Journal about the steps to bring about the Education Revolution, I became depressed. The Big Idea post about technology and change in education is not uncommon, but this one was insightful, which is rare. Read his post, but the nine points he makes were the cause of my depression.

  1. Expand Student Community Options
  2. Give students control over their online identity
  3. Incorporate informal learning
  4. Build a course taxonomy system
  5. Deconstruct courses
  6. Re-focus big data
  7. Deconstruct degree plans
  8. Return to deconstructing courses more
  9. Open up research and internship opportunities

Photo from 1to1 Learning Unconference

As I read through these initiatives, I came to the realization the system under which I work, in my department, at my university, under the Ministry of Education, is pretty much working in the opposite direction.

Technology is offering us a way to pull apart, inspect, and put together again in a new way (deconstruct) what a teacher does, and replace the parts that are done better by dumb machines so that the teacher can focus best on what she does best. The core of this direction is student centered learning, which has been given a huge boost by the capabilities offered by mobile technology and the Internet.

Stephen Downes (co-creator of the first real MOOC in 2008), breaks a teacher’s role down into 23 parts. With a view toward fostering connectivity as the basis for learning (content is a McGuffin), we will be able to build new institutions to handle the revolution. Sadly, I have little hope our current institutions will be able to keep pace. If you are under 40 years old (at least here in Japan, where change happens very slowly), I would keep my eyes wide open on alternatives. For countries like the US, Korea, Taiwan and the northern parts of Europe, I would guess anyone under 50 will see drastic changes before they retire.

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