Sunday, January 28, 2007

why education technology has failed school

And School has failed technology. This is a wonderful essay by Paul D. Fernhout, January, 2007, which also ventures into the issues of work and history.

He argues cogently that modern technology makes schools obsolete. Some extracts:
Ultimately, educational technology's greatest value is in supporting "learning on demand" based on interest or need which is at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to "learning just in case" based on someone else's demand.

Compulsory schools don't usually traffic in "learning on demand", for the most part leaving that kind of activity to libraries or museums or the home or business or the "real world". In order for compulsory schools to make use of the best of educational technology and what is has to offer, schools themselves must change...

So, there is more to the story of technology than it failing in schools. Modern information and manufacturing technology itself is giving compulsory schools a failing grade. Compulsory schools do not pass in the information age. They are no longer needed. What remains is just to watch this all play out, and hopefully guide the collapse of compulsory schooling so that the fewest people get hurt in the process.
So, who is going to get hurt in the process?

I was also fascinated by Paul D. Fernhout's PataPata project which is/was an experiment focusing on taking ideas from Squeak and Self and moving them to Python, as well as trying to go beyond the ideas in a Pythonic and educational constructivist way. Paul has written a post mortem critique of this project which is again a fascinating read. I hope to get time to return to this and follow up on the issues raised. It is sections of the free software community that has the vision for the future.

1 comment:

bloggus said...

Wow, that is a bleak look at schools! I disagree. If schools, but more to the point, educational institutions in general can adapt to the changing needs of the learners within their walls then there will always be a need for guidance. Imparting teacher-selected knowledge should be a thing of the past but apprenticeships will grow. It's changing... I can feel it... but it's a top-down process. More and more graduate institutions are becoming fluent in the use of distance learning, bringing students from all corners of the globe together to collaborate and share in their own learning. This new educational model of social constructivism will eventually filter down through the system. Let's hope it filters sooner, rather than later.