This isn’t a perfectly produced piece: it has a sprawling quality that roams around topic to topic in a way which reflects its oddly phrased title: The Future of Learning, Networked Society. (Replacing that comma with a colon would have worked better.)
But, for those seeking a polished, visually engaging, and moderately inspirational overview of key developments and trends in learning, this is entirely watchable. Having just published a few minutes ago a piece on whether we can move toward student-centered learning analytics, I found the section in this video about the Knewton platform and its agenda illuminating: it shows how it can show students, based on their own experiences and those of students like them what will be more effective studying and learning strategies.
Connected learning is celebrated, which I am always happy to see, and there is a useful introduction to MOOCs exemplified here by Coursera. (It is not entirely clear how commercially driven this video is, but it may well be something of a paid promotional sales piece for some of these vendors– so caveat speculator.)
Seth Godin is the centerpiece here, though if you want to listen for 15-20 minutes from him, you’d do better with his recent Stop Stealing Dreams TEDx talk. Here he has three main messages: first, pretending we are preparing kids for success by testing them with multiple choice questions is nothing but a “scam.” There are no multiple choice tests in the real world, and a SAT success quest is based upon the premise that getting into a “famous” university is a good thing, but, he says, “famous” universities are a scam too.
Instead, Godin says, “we need to get kids to want it– create an environment where kids are posed with creative problems and are made restless with a need for information and won’t stop seeking it out until they are satisfied.” Project-based learning does exactly this when well designed: poses creative, challenging, real world problems, and then establishes a need to know premise: what do kids need to know to solve the problem and do the project.
Most interestingly, in that he is talking about the revolution of connected learning, Godin challenges online learning with this message: “We need teachers who can look people in the eye, believe in them, and push them forward. It is hard to that on the internet.” It is good to recognize and reiterate this.
Blended learning is the absolute, certain, future, I believe, but like Godin, I’m not excited about programs that are largely or exclusively online. Let’s integrate and synthesize: online connected learning, featuring networking, researching, creating, collaborating, publishing, all situated much of the time in social, warm, encouraging, classroom environments.