I just published this post on Curriki’s blog, would be curious to hear thoughts from Literacy is Priceless readers…
In his recent New York Times article, “Virtual Classrooms Could Create a Marketplace for Knowledge,” author Anad Girdharadas writes:
In the autumn of 1963, the American magazine Popular Mechanics heralded an innovation that seemed bound to change the world: the ‘teacherless classroom’ … Fate and technology have pummeled many professions since 1963, from bookseller to travel agent to auto worker. But teachers have resisted the powerful forces reorganizing industry. The dream of the teacherless classroom has remained just that … Today the dream has returned.
Citing examples such at the Open Courseware Consortium, to iTunes U to Curriki, Girdharadas points out that education is no longer a seller’s market, where deans decide what you know, at what cost and where. With an increasing number of university professors and subject-specific enthusiasts putting their course materials and expertise online in multimedia formats, students (poor, rich, young and old) have a significant number of options when it comes to where to get (or rather how to build) an education. Furthermore, with this abundance of free or almost free courses and education resources online, universities and other certificate granting institutions have to compete on quality, price and convenience more than ever before.
Taking all of this into account, what do the aforementioned changes and market pressures mean for teachers and professors in terms of their role within the classroom and education marketplace? Or, as Independent Thinking founder Ian Gilbert writes in his forthcoming book, “Why do I need a Teacher when I’ve got Google?”
Scott McNealy, Founder of Sun Microsystems and Curriki, states that educators will have to re-envision themselves as coaches. Their focus should move increasingly towards motivating learners and customizing materials to individual students, often including the work and expertise of others in the process. Or, as this Edutopia article points out, “It is better to coach than cajole”.
What do readers think? With the recent digital education explosion, how will (or rather how should) the role of the teacher and professor change? Where will educators teach/coach? How can we better prepare educators for their new roles and responsibilities in education?
Founder, Bon Education