I was very fortunate to see Jaime Casap, Google’s Global Education Evangelist (that is his title), speaking at #Educause2015 in Indianapolis. His talk was tremendously relevant to technology planning and implementation for higher education, in an era when students have access to unlimited information but are hungry for context and insight.
We want students to think about “What they want to be when they grow up”. Better to empower them by asking; “What problem do you want to solve, and what skills and information do you need to solve that problem?” Because many of the actual jobs they will hold do not exist yet.
Educause is very focused on technology in education, and there were a lot of vendors at the conference. There’s a part of my brain – the dinosaur part – that looks at ed-tech and wants to know; “How will this fit into the one-hour lecture?” That’s the wrong question.
Anyway, imagine a student walking into a classroom, who thanks to portable technology, is pretty much never offline. We focus their education on “learning” a bunch of facts, but facts are the cheapest thing in their universe. Ask them any obscure question of fact, and they’ll find out in ten seconds. (We had to go to the library!) Going into debt for facts doesn’t seem like a great deal for them… and it isn’t!
This generation, the Post-9-11 generation, doesn’t know peacetime, doesn’t know not having wi-fi, is accustomed to diversity, and looks at learning differently.
I couldn’t find the actual address from Educause, but here’s a very similar talk that he gave at Penn State:
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- Notice what’s in his left hand: Index cards with handwritten notes! 🙂
- Education Dive: Google Apps for Education as an adaptation to new kinds of learners
- Coddled kids aren’t the problem; lies about them are
- Students are deluged with information; we should teach them how to vet it… and not just “is it from an authority?”
- Iteration is a process of failure and success, but we teach kids to be terrified of failure (No wonder so many get stuck there)
- Collaboration is how problems get solved. We talk about collaboration for our students, but we don’t really mean it; education is treated as a solitary, even isolated activity.
- There IS no future classroom; technology isn’t a silver bullet. The purpose of technology is to faciltate different students, teachers, learning environments and spaces.
- We need Competency-Based Education: most students use websites that rate colleges based on employment outcomes. We need experimental learning models focused on outcomes.
- “What problem do you want to solve and what skills…” leads inevitably to…
Students designing their own major
- We need to highlight innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education. Lots of stuff going on; lift it up.
- This is only the beginning.
- Educause is very focused on technology in education, and there were a lot of vendors at the conference. There’s a part of my brain – the dinosaur part – that looks at ed-tech and wants to know; “How will this fit into the one-hour lecture?” That’s the wrong question.