COETAIL, Course 4

A short answer & a long one too

Will education as we know it change because of technology?

Short answer. Yes, ABSOLUTELY. (I really enjoyed the way Rebekah put it.)

Longer answer. It might be slow and it might be painful but education SHOULD change because of technology. The students that are coming to schools now live in a different world than students 20, 30 or 100 years ago. If students are changing but school isn’t, we have a problem.

As I discussed way back in Course 1, my favorite uses of technology are connecting and collaborating. You might have also seen my pleas for collaboration and input that I occasionally post on this blog. Technology allows us to truly make the world flat so that we can learn from anyone, anywhere. My ideal classroom of the future would follow a curriculum in which students learn both content and skills. Instead of being confined to only working with and learning from others in the classroom, students would be able to collaborate with students (and experts) around the world. Truly interdisciplinary units would allow connections and collaboration without thought to time or space. This isn’t to say that teachers should be a thing of the past or that MOOCs should come to K-12 education. I envision an education system where Flat Connections and Web 3.0 are the norm, not something special that costs educators money.

A word about MOOCs. When they are defined like this and are not simply online classes, I think they sound pretty cool. Thousands of free courses to choose from at top universities around the world? Sounds great. A bunch of adults who are intrinsically motivated to learn, who do all the work for the course with no real extrinsic reward at the end? Wow. Like I said, I’m not really into flipping the classroom…for K-12 education. But at the higher-education level where many classes are lecture based anyway, maybe reverse instruction can work. And in MOOCs where adults are choosing to take the class and do all the work associated simply because they want to learn something and connect to others who want to learn the same thing…sounds pretty fantabulous to me. BUT…how do we translate THAT to public education? MOOCs should not be simply be adopted by K-12 institutions. But MOOCs have a few things figured out (like intrinsic motivation). So how do we learn from them in order to make K-12 education better? One idea is the OPEN piece. If we make leadership, educators and school more open…what would happen?

I don’t have all the answers…how do you think we can translate MOOCs to K-12 ed?


4 thoughts on “A short answer & a long one too”

  1. I am a proud drop-out of 3 MOOCs. As much as I love learning, it’s usually the least of my priorities and the first thing to go. That said, I’ve seen some interesting models in education. The best one I’ve seen is when small schools and/or small groups of people take a MOOC. So, when there aren’t the resources at a school, they can reach out and find them, but there is still the face-to-face element. A few teachers at my school actually took a MOOC on physics from Cosera with three kids in HL physics. The kids (with crazy heavy loads) did not get extra credit. They met once a week, did the lessons together, and students learned with teachers I thought that was amazing and I’ll be interested if that becomes a sustainable model.

    How would you see this working at your school


    1. I hadn’t thought of using MOOCs in that way before…but I guess it’s kind of like COETAIL. My husband and I are both doing COETAIL & we have 3 former COETAILers here. It makes it a little more personal to be able to talk to and identify with others in peson.

      LOVE the idea of kids and teachers taking classes together…that seems like it would inspire true life-long learning. And back to gamification & external motivation – these kids and teachers didn’t receive anything for taking the course. They’re doing it purely to learn something that they find useful (Dan Pink – purpose, autonomy, mastery). So COOL.


      1. Hello You Two,

        I LOVE the idea of students and teachers enrolling in a MOOC together! We have a robust after school activity program at our school, and I think doing one of those as voluntary participation in a MOOC would be fascinating. Of course, this doesn’t really answer Lissa’s original question about how to harness this power for regular classes and required learning… but I wonder what potential there is for making a MOOC of their choice, within the class subject area, part of a 20% project.

        Thanks for the thinking,


      2. I would really really like to hear about your experiences if you do a MOOC like that at your school Katy!


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